Gender Binary splits people into two genders – male and female. Maria Munir, a Non-Binary Activist, “came out”to President Obama in London, England in April, 2016.
Speaking with young people at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London Saturday morning, President Obama took questions following brief remarks, and the subject of LGBTQ rights came up repeatedly. In a particularly emotional exchange, the President responded to a young trans activist named Maria Munir, who said ze (a gender-neutral pronoun) was taking the “terrifying” step of “coming out as non-binary, and asked President Obama to do more to protect the rights of trans-people. The President explained that he doesn’t have the ability to repeal state laws like the North Carolina “bathroom bill” without a congressional majority, but said he was “proud” of activists like hir (also a gender-neutral pronoun):
Maria had not come out to her family but was encouraged by something that Obama said that focused on doing “something crazy.”
Here is the conversation.
“I’m about to do something terrifying which is – I’m coming out to you as a non-binary person which means that I don’t fit within – I’m getting emotional – I’m so sorry…”
“That’s alright,” said Obama.
“…because I come from a Pakistani Muslim background which inevitably has cultural implications – and I know that in North Carolina with the bathroom bill people are being forced to produce birth certificates to prove their gender in order to go to the toilet. in the UK we don’t recognize non-binary people under the equality act so we literally have no rights so if there was any discrimination there’s nothing we can do…I really, really wish that yourself and David Cameron would take us seriously as transgender people and perhaps you could elucidate as to what you can do to go beyond what has been accepted as the LGBTQ rights movement in including people who fit outside the social norms.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the steps it sounds like you have already taken to speak out about your own experience and to start a social movement to change laws. It sounds to me like you’re on the right track.”
On North Carolina, Obama explained that the “bathroom bill” is a state law and he can’t overturn it unless a federal law is passed that prohibits states from doing these things “and with the Congress that I currently have that’s not likely to happen.”
“We’re taking a lot of serious steps to address these issues within the federal government,” he added, praising the young activist for staying focused and active and telling her to be hopeful:
“You should feel encouraged just by virtue of the fact that I think social attitudes on this issue have changed faster than I’ve seen on any other issue. It doesn’t feel fast enough for you or for those who are impacted and that’s good. You shouldn’t feel satisfied. You should keep pushing. But I think the trend lines are good on this. We’re moving in the right direction. In part because of courageous and active young people like yourself.”
The BBC Interview Later with Munir
‘It was something the President said about acting crazy – that if you need to get a social issue across sometimes you need to act a little crazy,’ Munir said to the BBC.
‘At that moment I felt my pulse intensify and thought that I’ve been sitting on this issue for such a long time,’ Munir continued. ‘I haven’t come out to my parents, (I’m sorry mum and dad) I just thought, it anyone in the world is going to accept me for who I am it should be the President of the United States.’
As for the reception at home, Munir thinks the family will come around.
‘I apologize to my parents because they mean the world to me, but I know that they will accept me when they see how much of a change I can have throughout the world.’
Wikipedia Definition of Non-Binary Gender
- Have an androgynous (both masculine and feminine) gender identity, such as androgyne.
- Have an identity between male and female, such as intergender.
- Have a neutral or non-existant gender identity, such as agender or neutrois.
- Have multiple gender identities, such as bigender or pangender.
- Have a gender identity which varies over time, known as genderfluid.
- Have a weak or partial connection to a gender identity, known as demigender.
- Be intersex and identify as intersex, know as amalgagender
- Have a culturally specific gender identity which exists only within the culture they or their ancestors belong to.
- Otherwise feel that their gender is neither fully male nor fully female.
Non-binary people may also identify as transgender and/or transsexual. The label genderqueer has a lot of overlap with non-binary, but non-binary is often seen as more politically correct, since queer is sometimes used as a transphobic insult.
Non-binary people may wish to transition so that their gender expression more closely reflects their internal identity. Many non-binary people wish to appear androgynous and adopt unisex names, gender-neutral titles such as Mx. and/or gender-neutral pronouns, but others prefer to express themselves in ways which are traditionally seen as masculine or feminine, or to mix aspects of the two.
Non-binary people can have any sexual orientation, although if attracted primarily to a single gender they may prefer to use gender-terminology to express this, such as androsexual or gynosexual