Updated: Jul 30
Finding a Non-binary voice and the importance of seeing ourselves represented, event during a pandemic.
Finding My Voice
For the past week I’ve been trying to find my voice for the first post for this site. I thought about making it all about coming out and being Non-binary. But I guess having a page on being Non-binary is kind of a dead giveaway anyway. Right?
So I moved on to fashion, thinking “hey, I’ll write about my growing love for gender neutral skirts.” But thanks to COVID-19 I am not dressing up for anything except our weekly Café Cheshmeh TV stream. Writing about fashion today just didn’t seem appropriate for a first post on a page I have so much hope for.
Well… I decided just to write about what I am thinking about these days.
Saturday marks the start of the sixth month that my wife and I have been essentialy living in a 70 square meter Tokyo flat and only venturing outside for critical things. We closed our café in March, the small space and limited ventilation options that meant we couldn't protect our customers, family or ourselves from infection risk. So we did the only thing we thought was right, we closed.
At the time we thought the world would get a hand on this thing and we’d be open and ok by Summer. That didn’t happen. So here we are, heading into six months with a lot more likely ahead of us.
Being home and living through a pandemic gave me time to think, busy Tokyo life before didn’t often allow a lot of time for introspection. The pandemic brought priorities into clear focus, how I saw life, myself and the world around be began to change. Suddenly all the rush, noise, plans and activities that had been so very critical didn’t seem to be all that important. My wife, my family, friends and staying safe and secure rose to the top and stayed there.
I am thankful for that change in perspective. The old normal everyday life let us take these important things for granted. But seeing it all at risk, well… that reminds us how precious they are.
The time at home has also given me a lot of time to think about my gender identity. I had planned to really work on coming out this year, to get involved in the community and to represent where I could. With everything cancelled or on hold, those priorities faded away. But others started to replace them.
I’m still working on coming out. I have not hidden my identity, but I also haven’t widely shared it beyond close circles of people I trust. Of course launching a web site called “Non-Binary Me” rather obviates the need to come out. It is out there now for anyone caring to notice. Maybe that is better. Afterall I am not announcing an epic change in Kelly, I am simply applying terms that I feel express what was true all along.
All that said. I do have a mission in mind.
Finding people who represent us in media is important. For a long time I searched for older Non-binary, AMAB people to follow and read about. I wanted to know about other people like me, what they were doing, what they were thinking and writing about and how they were managing in the world. Sadly there was so little out there. It was not about erasure; it was about not having more representation.
So I decided to try to do something about it. Not only for AMAB Non-binary people, but for other non-binary people who are also not well represented in social and online media. But who am I that people would want to read what I have to say or care about the world I’d be representing? Especially from someone only partially and so recently out.
It took me a while to answer this question, but I finally arrived at a thought I could hang on to. I am just me, no more or less special or interesting than any other person. But it was precisely this that I realized was why I should try.
Being Non-binary doesn’t make us unicorns or aliens. Most of us are just who we are. We live our lives, chase our dreams, build relationships and exist like anyone else does. It is that process that is so important for us to share with each other. We need to see ourselves in other like us, to feel represented in the world, to know that the next generation of Non-binary people will grow up in a world where they are accepted and well represented.
We don’t need epic thought leaders or super stars lead us as much as we need the voices of our peers and our community to inspire us. We need that validating and empowering representation and visibility that pushes us forward while also helping the world learn about us, understand us and eventually fully accept us.
Well… Here we are at the end of my first blog post. I had a lot I wanted to share. I promise future posts won’t be so dramatic. Instead I hope to share the things that I love, that I’m doing, news from our community in Tokyo, Japan and things that inspire me.
I won’t make promises I am not sure I can keep, but I will promise this, I will try my best to keep this going and hope it is somehow useful, fun and maybe inspiring to someone. I hope someone searching for stories about Non-binary people will find this page useful.
Thanks for reading, please subscribe and feel free to get in touch through my contact page and say hi. I hope along the way you will share your stories too.
See you next time.