“You seem cool, but I think being nonbinary is pretty weird… like, what does that even mean?”
Whenever I go on dates or have casual hookups, this is generally the type of conversation I get. This is a direct quote from the last hookup I had.
I use they and them pronouns because I’m nonbinary. Identifying as nonbinary is different for everyone, but for me, it means I don’t feel like I’m a boy or a girl. I’m a mix of both and neither at the same time.
I’ve been out for almost a full year now. I live my everyday life refusing to conform to society’s standards of what a man or a woman is like. I like to hang out somewhere in the middle. Sure, some days I dress more femme, and other days I dress more butch. But every day, I am trying to overcome the binary.
As someone who loves love, and to be loved, dating as a gender non-conforming person has been tricky. When I say dating, I mean everything from casual hook-ups all the way up to long-term relationships. It’s not just about people respecting me and caring for me, it’s about having to constantly educate people so they are able to respect and care for me properly.
Most dating apps, like Tinder, don’t have nonbinary options available when it comes to selecting a gender. The apps are always asking if I’m a man or a woman. I always have to put into my bio that I identify as nonbinary, to then be harassed by the people I matched with.
Where are our apps? Why isn’t there a nonbinary option on Tinder or Bumble?
(Side note: Grindr does have a nonbinary option. You go, Grindr. Love you.)
Questions like “so what kind of junk do you have?” are a common occurrence when I use dating apps. So I just don’t anymore.
But it’s not just dating apps.
Dating as a nonbinary person is so exhausting because it often requires teaching other people. I don’t want to sit down to dinner and explain my identity, the history of the word, or anything else. I’m there to connect with someone – hopefully, someone who doesn’t care about why I wore a blazer instead of a dress, or vice versa.
I also want to stop feeling unsafe when I go on dates.
I tend to choose pretty good suitors when I actually meet them, but there have been times when I have disclosed my gender identity and my sexuality (yes, they’re different) and the atmosphere changed. Suddenly I was looking for a way out because I had made the mistake of trusting someone who decides whether people are worthy of life depending on how they chose to express themselves.
The last hookup that I had told me that me not being okay with him calling me ‘she’ was “off-putting… and kind of weird, honestly.” I didn’t take it lightly.
His actions are on him, because he didn’t educate himself before meeting me, and he chose to be disrespectful. No one should feel bad about wanting people to respect their pronouns.
To cis folks who want to date us, but think we’re weird and don’t use our proper pronouns:
We don’t need to date you.
For the people who want to date us, love us, sleep with us or just be with us, here’s some advice.
I would recommend seeing one of my good pals, Google. Read up on what being gender non-conforming is. Ask us what our pronouns are, and correct yourself if you mess up. Watch the movies Hedwig and The Angry Inch and Shortbus. They will hurt your heart and teach you a great lesson. While you’re educating yourself, remember to simply be a decent person. Everybody has trans and gender non-conforming people in their lives, whether they know it or not.
As the Spice Girls famously said:
“If you wanna be my lover, you’ve gotta respect my pronouns, sexuality, and gender identity.”
That’s how the song goes, right?