Using she/he pronouns

It can be so difficult to be sure you’re not reading a parody. Surely the BBC wouldn’t publish a parody news item

When Alexa Hermosillo, 25, came out as non-binary about a year ago, while living in San Diego, California, he found many of the people he dated still boxed him into a gender binary.

He was expecting to find something else? “Dating” (i.e. sex) tends to work that way.

Hermosillo had short hair and presented as more masculine, but was using she/he pronouns at the time. People he dated, however, “would assign that more normatively masculine role to me”, he says (Hermosillo now identifies as trans masculine). “If we drove somewhere, I would be the person to drive. If I took them out on dates, I’d be the main person paying.” 

Is he helpless? Can he not negotiate who does the driving, as in one person drives to and the other drives back? Can he not negotiate who pays? Can he not use his words?

This is one of the many nuanced issues people who identify as non-binary face when dating. Both dating partners and dating apps are likely to assign them to a binary gender. 

No shit. And why is that? Because 999,999 out of 100,000 people want to “date” (i.e. have sex with) a particular sex. Ok that probably undercounts bisexual people but you get my drift. Humans do “assign” other humans to a binary gender. It’s built in. Claiming to be “non-binary” is a new and silly development, and it’s not going to find many eager participants.

They’re subject to misgendering and inadvertent insults, people who try too hard to empathise with their gender identity, and those who don’t try to understand at all. 

In other words everybody gets it wrong and it’s just so unfair.

Dating can be a minefield for anyone who’s looking for partnership – but for people who identify as non-binary, there are even more obstacles, often invisible to people who identify with the mainstream view of gender identity and heteronormative sexuality.

Of course there are. Suck it up. Nobody has to pretend to be “non-binary,” and nobody has to humor people who do pretend to be “non-binary.” Suck it up, move on, transition to being an adult.

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