BfN is learning to support the charity’s inclusivity relating to gender. This is important in our efforts to ensure our support is respectful and accepting of all people who need our help and access our services.
Here are some links to websites we have been researching including extracts of texts.
Traditionally, the United Kingdom has only recognised 2 gender categories; male and female. People were largely categorised by how society perceived them and the genitalia which they were born with.
Increasingly, more people are beginning to recognise that they may not fit neatly into a binary gender category. Although concepts of third, fourth, fifth and intergender people are only just gaining traction in the UK, there are plenty of non-Western cultures which have a longer tradition of embracing these ideas.
Gender refers to the way in which a person feels and thinks about themselves, and the way they dress, speak or move. This can be different to the ‘sex’ they were given at birth. In other words, you may feel female and have a penis, you may feel male and have a vulva or may feel like a mix of the two.
The language we use when talking about gender is very important, because it can have an effect on people’s wellbeing. It can be daunting; it might seem like you will never know it all, or like it changes without you realising, or you might be worried about ‘getting it wrong’.
What is important to remember is that language is personal; your meanings or use of these words may be different to how other people use them. Not everyone will want to be known by the same terms so the most important thing is to be respectful of someone else’s identity and the labels they choose to use. In turn, you deserve that respect back.
What are pronouns?
Pronouns are words which stand in for a name such as he/him, they/them, ze/hir, e/em. Asking people to use the correct words for you, such as your chosen name and pronouns, can be a frightening thing to do but can also be a huge step towards feeling more comfortable in yourself.
Asking someone to use your correct pronouns is a reasonable request and something that they should be respectful of. It is also okay not to know what language you want to use for yourself, and people should be similarly respectful of this.
What can I do to step up as an ally to non-binary people?
There are many ways to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their gender identity. Our language and the way we speak is often embedded with hidden gendered cues.
Once we start to notice them, we can move towards using language that’s inclusive for all.
Your anatomy doesn’t determine your gender identity and neither does the “gender binary”.
What is the gender binary? The gender binary is the idea that there are only two genders – male and female.
In reality, gender is much more like a spectrum – it isn’t set in stone and some people have fluid or fluctuating gender identities.