Vice’s Amelia Abraham recently interviewed an unnamed East Asian non-binary teenager.
Though the identity of this teen is currently unknown (GSN has reached out to Abraham asking), what they have to say about life as a non-binary person is significant.
‘You’re not a girl, you’re not a boy, you’re something else that we don’t really have a word for. So the word we use now is “non-binary,”’ the teen explains.
‘I’ve always been non-binary, but before I couldn’t say it,’ they state. ‘I guess I could put it in words when I was 16, like three years ago.’
‘The first people I told were very close friends. And then six months later I told, like, everyone, starting with my parents.’
The teen’s parents were unfamiliar with the term non-binary, and even the term transgender was new to them.
As their parents don’t have friends that are transgender or non-binary, the teen seems understanding, saying, ‘How can you understand something if you’ve never heard of it or seen it?’
‘Of course I know it’s difficult, but I gave them time. Now it’s good,’ the teen says of their relationship with their parents.
The teen first encountered the term non-binary through meeting someone who identified as such.
‘I was like, “This is really interesting because all of society is so binary, like with toilets and changing rooms.”’
The teen also cites Tumblr as a place where the term non-binary really came intro prominence, about three or four years ago.
Of course, not everyone has been so accepting of the teen’s non-binary identity. They mention a time when someone commented on their Instagram, calling them both a racial slur and a f*ggot.
‘People want to put you in boxes, and I think I’m hard to put in one box,’ they explain. ‘I don’t think people like it when it’s difficult.’
‘The people who misgender, they don’t see me as I see me,’ the teen says. ‘So it just feels like they don’t care. They don’t care about my identity at all.’
The teen believes that getting one’s gender and pronouns right is a matter of respect.
They recall times when, upon coming out, people would ask questions like ‘are you sure?’ or ‘maybe this is a phase?’
‘Don’t tell people that,’ they say. ‘It’s like you’re just ruining a whole person’s identity. It’s really hard to find your identity, so if one person has finally found it, just let that person have it.’
‘And for me it’s like, “how can you not understand that it’s just, it’s me, it’s my identity, you have nothing to do with it.”’
Watch the full interview below: