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Jul 15 2017
by Natalie Rubio-Licht

Dear Gigi and Zayn: A Letter From An Exhausted Non-Binary Person

By Natalie Rubio-Licht - Jul 15 2017
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Dear Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid,

So, how long have you felt like you’re not the gender you were assigned at birth?

How often have you felt guilty for not conforming to the gender roles society prescribes to you?

How often do you feel like a disappointment to your parents because of your gender? How often do you see a box for gender on a form that says “Male” or “Female” and not know what to check, because you don’t really feel like either?

The realities of being non-binary aren’t as peachy as the recent Vogue feature made them seem. It features Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid, and hails them as revolutionaries in the gender-fluid community because they share clothes, when in fact, both Malik and Hadid are cisgender. 

This not only creates a misconception of what it means to be non-binary and gender-fluid, but it trivializes the people that actually struggle with their gender identity.

Many people already do not take non-binary genders seriously, and their feature only pushes the idea that different gender identities are just a fashion statement. Don’t get me wrong, experimenting with your gender identity is a great thing to do, especially if you are still trying to figure out more about your identity, but Hadid’s statement “It's not about gender. It's about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day,” proves my point: these two are not experimenting with gender. They’re experimenting with fashion.

A cisgender woman wearing a suit does not make her non-binary. A cisgender man wearing frills or lace does not make him gender-fluid. Why? Because clothing does not have a gender. Clothes are just clothes. Anyone can wear them; but I digress.

Being non-binary is realizing that sex and gender are different; and despite the article saying that the famous couple “Breezily crisscrosses the XX/XY line,” They do not truly understand the struggles of a non-binary person if they still believe that their gender is decided by their chromosomes.

The media is already severely lacking non-binary and gender-fluid representation. If Vogue actually wanted to act as an ally to the community, they would make actual non-binary actors and musicians the forefront of their feature instead of giving gender-fluid stars such as Ruby Rose and Tyler Ford a mere half of a paragraph and a quote at the end of the piece.

So tell me again, Zayn and Gigi: How often do you have to correct people for using the wrong pronouns, and how often do you just have to sit there as people misgender you? How often do you feel unsafe because of your gender? And how long is it going to take you to realize that switching t-shirts with your significant other does not make you the pinnacle of gender fluidity?

Sincerely,

An Exhausted Non-Binary Person

Lead Image Credit: Vogue

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Natalie Rubio-Licht - University of Portland

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