BlogBody Blog

What is Non-Binary?

I’ve personally been curious about LGBTQ+ people since the very beginning because I think it’s fascinating when people challenge the most basic social norms. I was morbidly curious listening to adults [as a child] express their feelings about how ‘unnatural’ gay relationships were… some even went so far as to complain about what sexual intimacy ‘must be’ like. This helped shape my earliest concepts of sexual relationships and when I first had sex at 18 I seriously thought ‘putting it in’ was all we were supposed to do. I never formed a meaningful bonds with most of the people I’ve met during the course of my 39 years on this planet.

I don’t remember exactly when the challenge to gender roles/norms began, but it unlocked something inside of me I had no idea had been caged in the first place. When I was a little girl visiting family, my cousins had this new thing ‘quiet woman!’ they thought was so funny and I never did find out where they got it. Our grandmother was driving the car we were all packed inside and mutters, barely loud enough for us to here ‘she’s not a woman’ and I vaguely recall having started my monthly death and wondering when I would become a woman if I wasn’t already because of my blood. I’ve never been able to fully embrace myself as a woman, though I do enjoy feeling powerful in a feminine way… it fades. Or perhaps I should say it comes and goes like an ocean tide.

The word ‘woman’ carries a lot of weight because of what our various societies have been through… and the memories we carry in our DNA. Women made the babies, cared for the children and protected the homes while men were out hunting or warring. In certain cultures, if you could afford to, women were granted helpers so they need not work so hard at these things but then women began to focus on other things instead. Women made or shopped for clothing, women mastered the art of preparing food or managing a household of servants, women went out of their way to please their husbands.

Similarly, the word ‘man’ also carries a lot of weight for all the same reasons—though on the different side of things, especially if you were white. Men focused on becoming the kings of their world, building their empire, keeping their eyes on whatever prize they chose. Men went out to hunt or battle, defending their lands or gathering food and supplies to strengthen their kingdom. Women and children were supporting characters… when the children became adults, they were often divided as pawns for marriage or someone to continue their legacy.

Generations ago, your average ‘nice guy’ friend won’t take advantage of you when you’re drunk but we’ve come a long way since those days. A guilty pleasure of mine {as in, my curiosity is somewhat morbid} is reading posts on the subreddit r/NiceGuys and it seems the current 'nice guy' makes me think about dangerous beasts who won't hurt you... as long as you give them what they want. Zeffy was born a generation before me and is still coming to terms with this drastic and unpleasant evolution. Are you a man or a woman? That’s a scary question during a time when countless people want to lift your skirt up to see what’s underneath.

On the other side of this weird truth is the fact that not everyone wants to lift up your skirt without asking, just because they don't understand 'how non-binary works' and so I give you the story of Steven Universe. In March of 2020 the creator did an interview with someone from Vulture 'magazine' and it's here:

The opening paragraph says a lot about the story: "Six years after it premiered, Steven Universe is leaving the world of television much better than it found it. Beyond it’s catchy music, warm, compelling characters, and intricate plotting, the Cartoon Network series has told an important story about one of the biggest themes in children’s media: self-worth."

Theoretically there’s been a question that’s rarely asked in children’s media… ‘what happens after you win?’ Which is what Steven Universe Future is focused on. After binge watching the first 5 seasons, plus the movie and follow-up series, I realize that my childhood really missed this story. What happens after 'happily ever after'? Is a question that was never answered, partly because it might make some really boring movies. Who wants to watch Cinderella or Snow White settle into life inside a beautiful castle with an adoring husband who is also crown prince? Rebecca Sugar, creator of the Steven Universe story, went there... and it wasn't boring, how could it be?

I’ve been saying for years, probably most of my life, that cartoons weren’t made for children and this story is a very unique exception. The original series ran for 5 years and audiences watched young Steven grow from a weird, magical, relentlessly positive child into a less-young {not much actual time passes during the show} person who’s gone through some really weird-stressful events yet is realistically changed for the experiences.

So many of our great heroes {from Ironman to Thor to Batman} are unrealistic but that’s not Steven, which is amazing. After everything young Steven has gone through in his 16 years of life: several near-death experiences, watching his friends get killed {which is kind of okay because they can reform, though it's still traumatic} and of course the terrifying drama of inheriting a war from his alien mother.

I’m fascinated to know what Rebecca Sugar has in mind for a next project; or if she has any concepts for Homeworld backstory. I’d really like to know where the Diamonds came from, though perhaps that's better left as a mystery?

Children aren’t as young as they used to be [I’ll wager the average 9 year old has the emotional maturity of 18 year olds generations before] and this show resonated with a wide variety of people. So much of this world, so many of our ‘favourite’ stories, is packed with casual violence and unnecessary bigotry. Zeffy and I favour shows like Stranger Things or Umbrella Academy for their differences. Yet even in Stranger Things there are snippets such as, ‘why is it so important for Will to have that haircut if the actor loathes it so much?’

What has most of this got to do with this era of challenging gender norms/roles? Many people in the LGBTQ+ community resonated with the gems because even though we might look and think 'oh, they're all girls/women' that isn't exactly true. Gems lack gender, they lack sexual identity because they don't breed... which is a theory for 'where sexual identity comes from.' Gems do, however, have the power to become something else when deeply connected to another gem and they call this Fusion. Two or more gems fuse together and become a new entity; Pearl and Amethyst become Opal, Garnet and Pearl become Sardonyx and of course Sapphire and Ruby become Garnet. Most gems 'look' female but that's how they choose to 'present,' much like how non-binary people understand their social-sexual identity because we are so much more than 'man' or 'woman' on this planet. We are creative, imaginative, ever-changing and limitless beings known best as "people."

Lots of love from us people to you people, Teta

ps this foto isn't mine, thanks pixabay