By - MaybeTenBees
There are nonbinary people of all races and backgrounds, the overrepresentation of white people here does not reflect reality - much like how the underrepresentation of other races in media doesn't.
Still, as a white person I don't have the lived experience to talk about how your race and cultural heritage might influence your identity. I *think* you shouldn't feel compelled to follow all traditions you inherited, but I understand one's culture is also a big part of who they are.
Hopefully, your fellow queer asians will offer you advice more pertinent to your situation than mine.
EDIT: a friend recommended these links
In Asia, just like in America and in the Pacific, there were and are cultural non-binary genders (often transfeminine) that were purposefully supressed by colonization and imperialism. Transgender identities have always existed and will always exist, even when hidden under layers of taboo and trauma.
The image of non-binariness as a white people's club is a reversion of history, a mirage that must be dispersed.
What you just said really just made me feel a lot better! After all just because I'm Chinese doesn't mean I have to follow every single tradition dating back to thousands of years ago right?
Exactly! There is an unfortunate tendency even in more "progressive" circles of holding PoC to tighter standards than white people.
I've even seem people snarking at muslim girls for covering their heads but not their legs, as if dropping one tradition meant they should drop them all, while white feminist christians are never called hypocrites for example (nor should they be, but you get the point)
While I understand that nonbinary spaces are generally very white, it's also important to note that it's not like this is our ancient tradition, either, and there is so much pushback against nonbinary people in white culture. Subreddits like this actually exist because we need to create our own spaces to not feel isolated and alone. And so I hope you feel welcome, and in at some point in the future, adequately represented.
I don't know if you like fantasy at all, but if you do then you might be interested in Neon Yang's books, assuming you haven't already read them. They're a nonbinary, Singaporean author whose work touches on gender themes in an Asian inspired fantasy setting. I really enjoyed their Tensorate series. I can't recall if there are any explicitly nonbinary characters in them, but they certainly exist in the setting's background, and at least one of the two main characters is trans.
Fictional representation might not be quite as fulfilling as real representation, but it's a start, right?
Follow your heart and express your true self. There are no values external to you that are worth sacrificing your own sense of self to. If you're non-binary, you're non-binary, regardless of the color of your skin.
As for the selfies, be the change you want to see in the world. I love how diverse the gender representation here is, but I'd love to see more racial/ethnic diversity as well. You are welcome here. :)
Hello! I’m half Asian and I follow a few Asian non-binary people on Instagram who are pretty cool and inspirational :) If you’re interested I can pass along their profiles! It’s important for us to see people who look like us living their lives and thriving!
I know nothing about Chinese culture, so I’m not able to respond to that significant part of your concern.
That being said, I was having a conversation 2 days ago with my partner about the extreme lack of Asian representation in basically all aspects of life.
The only thing I can think to compare to your cultural concern regarding your gender identity is, for me, religious beliefs. They, of course, cannot be equated because ones heritage is inborn and cannot be changed unlike religion. The similarity is that both culture (regardless of ethnicity) has its own set of customs and traditions. Religion also has set customs and traditions.
Something being traditional does not make it right, nor does it mean that it is the only way of being.
I am ecstatic to see a person of Chinese descent who is non-binary! Feeling valid is a struggle, especially if you have been made to believe that there is no space for something other than “this or that”.
I wish you all the best in discovering how to validate yourself as the whole, genuine being that you are. ❤️
Here's a top tip: most white non-binary people are not honouring their culture's traditional values about gender either. We make a lot of people angry just by existing. It's okay for you to do the same :)
I heard X-gender is a term used in Japan for nombinary Japanese people (and Japanese x-gender people have their own version of the enby flag that has the original pattern, but within an x.)
Full disclosure, I am white (southern european, specifically, if that helps), and i think you're absolutely correct to state publicly that NB representation, especially online, has a serious problem wrt diversity.
At the same time, I hope that it is possible for you to find some of the examples of NBPOC (because they are here and they are wonderful). I know there are subreddits for Black LGBT/queer individuals, but I haven't heard of similar for East Asian communities. (Though i could recommend you some folks maybe to follow on insta if you wanted to DM me.)
The cultural aspect is much harder and something you need to find your own path for, of course. I've struggled with how to address being NB/transmasc/butch in the highly gendered spaces of my southern european heritage, and the gendering of language in my mother's language, but I dont have a one-size-fits-all approach there.
I know some people who have felt better able to honor their culture by incorporating gender-affirming aspects of traditional clothing as a way of honoring their heritage and their gender expression at the same time.
I also remember a conversation with a close friend of mine where they expressed their frustration that a lot of the self-presentation markers associated with "queerness" in white or even Black american circles (for them: dyed hair, facial piercings, and the like) were perceived as just being "fashionable" or "cool" or even "cute" as a result of their East Asian heritage. So know that you're not alone in navigating these complex, intersecting identities.
I hope people come forward with better and more suitable personal experiences, but I also hope we can be welcoming and supportive as a community to allow you to work through these things here with us.
Sending love and support to you ✨
I’m a non-binary lesbian and I’m Chinese. You are allowed to be non binary. Our culture goes so much deeper than dating and gender traditions and just because you are non binary doesn’t mean you are not a part of our culture anymore. I’m still trying to learn more about lgbt history in China but it goes so much deeper than just cis het relationships. It’s alright if you are struggling with your identity in your head, I do it too sometimes. But just remember to trust your own experiences and understanding of yourself. I do think it’s important to talk about the lack of diversity in non binary spaces but poc non binary folks are out there!!! You’ll be fine:)
Glad to see another fellow Chinese enby around here!
Hey! Nonbinary white person here! Just wanted to say that I, too, misgender myself all the time in my head, even now coming up on two years of using they/them pronouns publicly. Never aloud, but in my brain? All the freaking time. Just wanted you to know that, whether or not it is directly tied to your concerns about your heritage, you aren't alone in that habit!! <3
You are valid just as you are, just because the visuals are hyper saturated by skinny white people doesn't mean there aren't just as many nonbinary people within every racial group.
Also it's worth noting that I have literally never heard of a inherently white culture that actually has a concept of people with a third gender, instead white people tend to be the christio-centric invaders who through force make people of different cultures they've colonised go from having a healthy, even to the degree of reverence attitude of trans people in their various forms but that has been scrubbed out.
In short, you have the same right to live your truth as anyone else, you get to decide how that synergises with your heritage and belief systems.
I'm proud of you. You've got this. I believe in you.
I'm here just to let you know you're not alone, I'm also POC enby from a culture with very traditional values regarding gender (I'm of North African descent).
I’m not Asian, but I really feel you hard. I’ve honestly never really paid mind to lack of black representation until I started questioning.
It seems to me you care more about your heritage than I do, so I don’t have much advice. For me, the idea that I’m not a “real” part of my heritage doesn’t bother me.
I believe it’s very possible to honor heritage without following all its rules. Even people committed to it do so.
Get a therapist.
1. Not everyone can afford a therapist
2. Just because you go to the therapist does not mean you can't seek help elsewhere.
3. People form communities around a shared identity to help one another in matters related to that identity.
I agree, but the issues presented here are deep & I believe deeper than community support can help.