‘It hurts me every time’ - what issues do non-binary people face everyday?
- Credit: Archant
Getting someone’s gender right is straightforward most of the time, but getting it wrong with some members of the LGBTQ+ community can cause real hurt.
Nan Zuniga, 30, was born biologically female but identifies as non-binary which means they do not feel that they are male or female and use the pronoun 'they'.
In recent weeks discussions concerning gender have made it on to national news after transgender woman Caitlin Jenner was misgendered several times while competing on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
Misgendered refers to when someone gets the gender of a person wrong and uses the wrong pronoun to address them e.g. he/him or she/her.
Nan lives with their girlfriend, Chloe Wilkinson, 23, in Manningtree, Essex, after moving from the USA.
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They spoke about the difficulties they face being non-binary after being refused a haircut in a barbers shop for not being biologically male.
"The barber's whole demeanour changed, from being very welcoming to saying no to everything I asked for," Nan said.
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"People misgender me repeatedly and some even do it on purpose but I don't get upset with people if its a genuine mistake because then when I tell them they use my pronouns correctly.
"But don't get me wrong it's still upsetting to me, it hurts me every time."
Chloe said it is important to remember Nan suffers from gender disphoria, a condition defined as when a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.
Nan works as a graphic novelist whilst also advocating for mental health on their YouTube channel Team Pinata, while Chloe runs an educational service about mental health, DissociaDID.
Chloe has struggled with the way Nan has been treated sometimes, especially when people use Nan's gender to insult them.
"Some people are really mean and do it on purpose to Nan, deliberately misgendering them to upset or irritate them," she said.
"All of my friends were shocked when I told them about how Nan was treated at the barbers and we all agreed we'd never think something like this would happen in our area."
Nan said that they had never been refused a service before but found the whole experience both confusing and upsetting.