okay? so? and?

gender boxes

so the gender binary that we live in and participate in is the cause of a lot of problems. if you start to learn about it, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. the gender binary has given us:

-gender roles, and everything that goes along with them

-warped ideas of masculinity and femininity : they tend to make the rules about what we wear, say, do, and live, down to ridiculous details. read about toxic masculinity:



-the erasure and censorship of those who fall outside the binary (and the subsequent loss of their stories and voices)

-inherently gendered language: we only commonly use him or her to speak about singular people. it’s common to say “his or her”, but what if neither of those pronouns makes sense for someone? here’s some info on pronoun options: https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

-gendered things that don’t need to be gendered, and weird, random shit like the “pink tax”:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/opinion/the-pink-tax.html

these are some things that have been in the news recently, and it’s a lot to think about. but there’s some other, enormous problems that go unheard in the general media, mostly because they affect non-binary folks:

-unequal or inadequate representation. when’s the last time you watched, heard, or read something that even acknowledged a person outside the gender binary? when they are acknowledged, how are they portrayed? it’s often with flat stereotypes or degrading caricatures. so when trans and nonbinary people are represented in fair and nuanced ways, who is telling the story? if it’s in a movie, is the actor also nonbinary? often times, the answer is no. it matters: http://www.themarysue.com/transparent-trust/


-queer and nonbinary youth are often not welcome in their family homes when they come out. many face homelessness, violence, and mental illness: http://www.bustle.com/articles/87452-5-shocking-facts-about-transgender-suicide-and-violence-that-you-need-to-know

-many queer and nonbinary people can end up in prison because of ways that their existence is criminalized. our prison system is already hell for the people living in it, but it can be even worse, especially if you are sent to a prison designated for a gender that doesn’t match your own: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/trans-transgender-women-died-mens-prison

**I also highly recommend the book Captive Genders by Eric A. Stanley. It covers how trans and nonbinary people are specifically affected by our prison system.

-Nonbinary people of color, people with low socioeconomic power, those with unstable living conditions, queer and nonbinary people with disabilities, and undocumented people face even more hurdles. Their voices are often completely ignored, even within queer movements: http://returnthegayze.com/2016/02/06/nbgncpoc/

-healthcare is often difficult to deal with or plain inadequate for trans and nonbinary folks. even if they have access and the means to get healthcare (which they often don’t), there are problems (this study is based in the UK, but it highlights many of the same issues in our healthcare system): http://uktrans.info/attachments/article/378/ATH-Non-Binary-Survey-Results.pdf


Okay, so there’s a bunch of problems created by the gender binary, and some resources. I left a ton of stuff out, because if I tried to address everything, I would never be able to stop writing. Comment if you have any important issues or resources!

Author: Bullshit Binaries

Talking & writing about the social binaries we've constructed and their consequences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s