International Non-Binary Day 2021

Posted 14 July 2021
President of Activities, Ellis, talks about their experience being non-binary.
President of Activities, Ellis, talks about their experience being non-binary.

Firstly, happy international non-binary day! I am Hull University Students’ Union first openly non-binary Student President! I came out as non-binary around 3 years ago now, I remember drunkenly telling my mum that I wasn’t “a man” and she told me “I don’t care as long as you’re happy” and ever since then I’ve been quite open with my identity! A lot of people already know this, and for those of you who don’t, well now you do!

A non-binary person is someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female, and often comes under the Trans identity. There are a ton of non-binary identities and people are still trying to find the best vocabulary for describing our experiences, a lot of non-binary people use different pronouns and gender identifiers. For me, I just like being called Ellis, and I use all pronouns (I really don’t mind). Often this can be seen as some kind of political statement, but it’s really not, it’s just who I am! Growing up I always felt uncomfortable being labelled as male or being called master/mister/sir as it just never felt right, and I knew that female wasn’t right either. By getting to know more queer and trans people that I accepted that my gender isn’t either of those things, and becoming more and more comfortable with my queer identity just slowly led me to the realisation that I’m neither, I’m just me.

One conversation I have had a lot is regarding how I present myself, and what I have to say to that is: Non-Binary people do not owe you androgyny. I struggled a lot throughout my life about the way I look, I have a beard not because I want to “look manly” but because I like the way it looks (and it hides my bum chin!) and I dress the way I do because I like the clothes and how they look on me, not because I’m trying to present one way or another. I have a lot of tattoos because I’ve always liked the way they look, and they make me feel more comfortable in my own body. I wear makeup and paint my nails, but I’m not trying to come across as a woman (plenty of men wear makeup and paint their nails and wear gender ambiguous clothing and still identify as men, this is just my experience!). I’m just expressing the way I want to look and feel, and that is it, really!

I’ll always be keeping the name Ellis, and that is what I would prefer to be referred to by! I don’t particularly like titles, but for official forms I go by Mx where possible, but just call me Ellis. If a title is mandatory and Mx isn’t available, just pick the most ludicrous one on the list. I know of at least one website that has “Wing Commander” as an option. I’ve never really felt comfortable when people refer to me as “dude” “fella” “bro” “sir” etc, so again my name is just preferable for me! It also allows for a level of informality that I prefer.

Please take my experiences as relevant to me only, every Trans and Non-Binary persona has a different story, a different experience, and even different pronouns! Please ask them for their stories instead of assuming theirs is the same as mine, but please do respect if they’re tired of explaining it to people.

If you wish to read about non-binary genders, there are a ton of resources online! The website Life Outside the Binary has a lot of useful links and resources. Take a look here: lifeoutsidethebinary.com/allies