SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Non binary

Embracing my true full self

I have been married for over 22 years and have two amazing children of 20 and 17 and am fortunate in that my family unconditionally love me for who I am and not how I choose to express.

I describe my identity as non-binary, or to be more specific, gender fluid. To me this entails expressing myself sometimes as Pippa in a feminine form, and at other times as Phil in a masculine form. Gender is a societal construct and so being gender fluid represents different things to different people, with each at different and changing points on a wide and fluid gender spectrum. Typically, I spend half my week - both at home and at work – in each form of expression.

The biggest barrier I faced was coming out in a corporate working environment as gender fluid. Being at a senior position in a large professional firm, I was worried about how my identity would be accepted and what impact this would have on both my career and standing in the firm. Although it is now known that it can be as high as 4 percent of the general population who identify as non binary, it has only been better understood and accepted in the last few years.

Fortunately, I chose to come out at work at a time we were launching our own workplace LGBT Ally program, and so I chose to use this as an opportunity to help educate the firm - and society as a whole - and ensure that I was able to embrace my true full self. Having a strong foundation of allies to support you in taking that step makes a huge difference. I have been amazed at how receptive and supportive my firm and colleagues have been. They have shown a genuine appetite to both understand and embrace gender fluidity as part of their inclusion of Trans identities in the workplace.

To me, intersectionality represents all the amazing different types of women that exist. Whether this is related to our ethnicity, culture, sexuality, chosen gender expression, gender identity or any of the other amazing factors that make us all unique and different. Oscar Wilde summed this up well when he said, ‘be yourself as everyone else is taken’– this is so very true, as to me, intersectionality cuts across all these different aspects of authenticity and is what helps shape us all into the amazing women that we are, not by being the same, but by drawing power and courage from our unique differences.

Being gender fluid certainly comes with its own set of nuances and experiences, however it continually amazes me how amazing, loving, caring, compassionate, supportive, sincere, engaged and interested people are about identities they may not have previously understood, and how keen they are to quench their thirst for knowledge to better understand and embrace these identities.

Tags: Gender identity,Non binary