Lately I have been thinking a lot about how our community is represented in media and to the mainstream public and how that may be impacting social issues we continue to face.
If we look into this community we are an incredibly diverse group of people. We are all ages, from all countries, brought up in different cultures and belief systems and more. We span the spectrum of gender identities and life experiences as individuals and as groups within the community. Each of us represent our community to our immediate social circles and to one another.
I often feel that this amazing diversity is under-represented to the mainstream. They often see the social media stars and icons who are often representative of a much smaller segment of our community.
I recently asked a few friends to tell me what their view of Non-binary people is if they base it solely upon what they see most often. So these were some of the feedback.
Cute or quite attractive
Very alternative e.g. pink hair, piercings, tattoos, vibrant style.
Flamboyant or very outgoing.
They said they rarely saw older people or people who look very every day and ordinary. They also said they saw many more times the number of caucasian Non-binary people than people of color. Notably being in Japan, people noted how few Asian Non-binary people they saw.
Now there is nothing wrong with any of the points they listed. These are all attributes that some of our community members have. Often young people are the leaders in getting out in front of change, and people who are attractive or more likely to have followers on social media and to be seen. So all of this is fairly expected.
But what this does show is that we do have a representation gap for our community that we should explore ways to fill. It would be great to see more older people, diverse ethnicities represented, more AMAB representation and people who are not as fashionable or alternative.
I think this representation is critical to our being able to show the world that we are a very diverse community and that we are in every walk of life, every country, every culture, every occupation, in many belief systems, all body types and ages and more.
We need this representation to fight off stereotyping, dismissal and erasure of our community and to show the world that we are as much a part of the fabric of the human experience as any other person of any other gender identity. We need this to gain the social and political power needed to protect our rights, our equality and our inclusion.
Not all of us are up for being public and visible. Certainly not those who remain at risk. But some of us are able and I hope we can gather more people to take leadership roles and become more visible in bringing out community to light and putting our diversity under a spotlight for the world to see.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
I am very alternative (life long gothic roots, piercings and tattoos), I am outgoing, I look like a slightly green Jack Skellington (so cute according to my wife ;) ), I am noisy and outspoken and do some streaming on social media, so I ticked a lot of the stereotype boxes my friends mentioned.
But I am also older (in my 50's) AMAB, I work a corporate tech industry management job, I give seminars on business continuity and pandemic response, I am a business owner and I am married, things that are not as often shared in media about our community but are all just as common.
How can we raise visibility for all that we are as a community? And how can we leverage that to change the world in a way that will assure our equal treatment and empowerment in society? This is the question I am seeking an answer to. One that we can all work to answer and find ways to raise our community up and to empower us all.