CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Aug. 22, 2023) — Non-binary Awareness Week is an annual event that takes place in the week that surrounds International Non-binary People’s Day on July 14. This week celebrates and brings visibility to the diversity of gender identities/expressions that exist outside of the gender binary of man and woman.
Non-binary Awareness Week also provides a platform to elevate the stories and experiences of non-binary people. In my experience, the non-binary community is made up of some of the most creative and visionary people that I’ve ever met.
Every day, non-binary people transcend what many of us have been taught about who to be, what to look like and how we are supposed to go through life. As a non-binary dancer and choreographer, I have found that being expansive around my gender brings creativity to my art and movement. It inspires me to “think outside of the box” – literally.
Historically and presently, creative expression through dance brings a powerful instrument for storytelling, community building and social change for intersectional LGBTQIA+ communities. In a time where LGBTQIA+ dancers, artists and drag performers often face violence and hate crimes, it is essential to create safe and inclusive spaces where all LGBTQIA+ people can express themselves authentically.
Hiring, paying and protecting local LGBTQIA+ performers – especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) – is an important way of affirming and supporting the authentic expression of queer and trans people.
Non-binary Awareness Week also highlights the importance of youth advocacy and creating youth spaces where all gender identities are respected, included and celebrated. In 2020, the Trevor Project collected data from an online survey of approximately 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 across the United States in which 1 in 4 LGBTQ youth identified as non-binary.
Non-binary youth often experience exclusion, stigmatization, houselessness and violence. Due to these experiences, non-binary youth are at a higher risk of suicide.
According to the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide last year.
- Non-binary allyship can include:
- Utilizing inclusive language and pronouns.
- Educating family and friends about the spectrum of gender identities that exist.
- Advocating for gender-affirming legislation and accessible health care.
- Creating safe spaces for art and expression (like dance).
- Building gender inclusive bathrooms.
- Supporting LGBTQIA+ affirming schools.
- Donating to LGBTQIA+ organizations like Rainbow Community Center.
Rainbow Community Center provides extensive programs and services that support the wellbeing of non-binary youth, adults and families, including social and support groups like Trans Teen Talk Group, Gender Voice and Parents and Guardians of Trans and Gender Nonconforming Children. Rainbow also provides wrap-around services focusing on mental health, housing for transitional age youth, LGBTQIA+ educational trainings, HIV support, adult programming and so much more.
To learn more about Rainbow’s programs or to share a donation to support our comprehensive LGBTQIA+ services, please visit rainbowcc.org.
Milo Knight (they/them) is a non-binary and queer educator, activist and advocate for intersectional queer and trans liberation, and the director of Operations, Wellness and Culture at Rainbow Community Center. Email comments or questions to email@example.com.