I just saw in my recommended videos: "How to know if you're Non Binary"

It's made by a nonbinary person and ofc their experience is valid.

But my brain is in overdrive trying to answer that question myself, or even to understand the question.

I don't know how to meaningfully describe how I know if I'm nonbinary. "Gender doesn't make sense to me and it's simpler if I don't attribute it to myself" feels like a cop-out because it's an appeal to parsimony.

re: nonbinary 

Some people say "I don't feel male or female", but I don't even understand what it means to "feel male/female". I have even asked (when I was first exploring gender in my late teens) and no one could give me a satisfactory answer. Is there some gender->feeling synaesthesia I'm not privy to?

I could understand genders as roles or performances or styles or aesthetics, but that interpretation is problematic, and especially with some nonbinary identities doesn't simplify anything.

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@kiilas I kind of think "how do you know if you're (gender/lack of gender)" is a misleading question itself, because it suggests there's some hidden gender (or lack of) in you that you're not fully aware of, but have to find and prove in some satisfactory way to the part of you that deals with the outside world.

When really, if you feel like gender doesn't apply or make sense to you, and nonbinary (or any other word) works to describe that for you, I think that's all you really need to say "I'm nonbinary". Words and concepts are tools for us, not the other way around.


@kiilas I think it's also fine to say "I don't understand the question; the question feels irrelevant to me". Maybe at some future point the question will feel relevant; maybe it won't-- but right now it feels like it's not part of your experience, and that's all you need.

re: nonbinary 

@monsterblue Yeah, totally. I'm just approaching this in the context of helping someone figure out if they're nonbinary (which I think is the original context of the question).

It's the simplest correct answer for me to say "I'm nonbinary because I assert I am nonbinary", but it doesn't help people who question their own gender identity.

Maybe rephrasing the question as "Should I assert that I'm nonbinary?" would be more helpful, because it doesn't presuppose gender essentialism?

re: nonbinary 

@kiilas Oh, I didn't realise that was the context, my bad. Also I like that rephrasing!


@kiilas i mean, i think it's very valid to be something because you've decided it's what fits the best

Like we shouldn't have to find some innate thing inside us that tells us we are a thing. Like "i don't really get or vibe with gender" is a perfectly good reason to reject it imo

Like with being aromantic i don't know whether i technically "am" aromantic inherently or anything

But i dislike and don't understand romance so i choose to apply that label to myself

re: nonbinary 

@RadiantEmber I agree, I feel like there's a lot of "uncover who you really are" narratives in the trans and queer communities, and a lot of essentialism. Like, there's an inner core hidden man/woman/enby inside you and you must find it.

Instead of simply "If I assert myself as X, and if I'm affirmed as such by others, it will work and make me happy".

re: nonbinary 

@kiilas yep very much agree

We shouldn't have to prove that we inherently "are" something to be affirmed

Autonomy over our own identities and choice should just be respected

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