By Sara Onitsuka
AFO Content Writer
This is a list of 11 non-binary (enby) and genderqueer people of color who inspired me while I was questioning. It is definitely not even close to exhaustive, and I could probably make a whole series of articles (and maybe I will!). But this is a start.
I've been meaning to compile and write this article for a long time now, but got sidetracked by a few hard months. However, in light of last month's leaked memo from the Trump administration and the Department of Justice brief, I felt an increased urgency to put it out there.
Those of us outside of the binary are so often erased and mocked for identifying with what some believe to be a made-up identity. It is even harder to be a non-binary/genderqueer person of color, facing racism and increased danger, and lacking representation in what little media representation non-binary people have. But as our histories and cultures show, being outside of the binary is not a new thing, nor is it a white thing. In a world where surviving is literally an act of resistance, these folks inspired me to live my truth.
"Weird queer comedy babe" Jes Tom (they/them) is one of my favorite comedians. As a non-binary queer Asian comedian, they offer such a fresh viewpoint - one I connect so much to and that is sorely needed in the world. I always saw comedy as overpopulated by white men, so finding Jes pretty much blew my mind. Catch their witty commentary on Twitter, find some of their material on YouTube, or better yet, check out one of their shows!
KÃ©nta (dey/dem) is a two-spirit, multi-talented linguist and activist currently living deir unapologetic life in Seattle. Seriously...so talented, it's wild. Dey regularly post insights on Instagram that I both resonate with and have learned a lot from, and currently have a GoFundMe to help preserve native languages.
Filipinx educator and advocate AC (they/them) runs a Facebook page Call Me They, a Twitter @mxacdumlao, and an instagram @menswearselfcare! They post social justice news and all kinds of affirming posts about being non-binary and being themselves.
I'm not sure I could make a list of non-binary people without including Alok (they/them). Alok is a gender non-conforming writer, speaker, performance artist, and absolute style icon who lives their life and refuses to conform to the gender binary. They were one of the first big non-binary names that I found and was inspired by.
Travis Alabanza (they/them) is an English "performance artist, theatre maker, poet and writer". They just wrapped up their show Burgerz, which they wrote and performed, about "exploring how trans bodies survive and how, by them reclaiming an act of violence, we can address our own complicity." They are another incredible and more well-known non-binary voice traversing across mediums to share their stories.
Pidgeon Pagonis (they/them) is a non-binary intersex activist and co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, working to end intersex surgeries and to amplify intersex voices. They also have a YouTube channel where they share about being intersex and how intersex surgery affected their life. I also love their merchandise with the phrase, "Too Cute to Be Binary" written on it.
Hut (they/them), also known as Queerbigan, is a Youtuber based in Seattle. In 2017 they won the annual Gay Filipino contest and earned the title of Mx. Gay Filipino 2017! On YouTube, check out their QTPOC Vlog series, and also their singing videos (they have an incredible voice).
Avery (they/them) is an agender YouTuber who candidly discusses being non-binary in their videos. I found their video "How I knew I was Non-binary/Not a Trans Guy" while I was still questioning, and while no one person's journey is exactly the same, their video helped me to sort through many feelings of my own and start to feel valid in who I am.
Devin-Norelle (ze/zim) is an androgynous transmasculine model who recently walked the runway at New York Fashion Week. Ze is also a writer for Teen Vogue and them., and is a fierce advocate of zir community. Ze is a huge inspiration for trans visibility overall and is shifting perceptions on what being trans looks like.
Chella (he/him) is another icon that I would be remiss not to include in this article. A queer, non-binary, deaf, Jewish, and Asian artist, Chella writes for the publication them. and was recently signed to IMG Models. I fell in love with how he documents his life in such an authentic and accessible way, from his experiences on testosterone to his everyday love notes to his girlfriend, MaryV. They're absolute couple goals. I also once got my hair cut just like Chella's, so he's an inspiration in many more ways than one.
Dana Vivian White
Dana (they/them) is an "Afro-Latinx, non-binary writer, speaker, and trainer living in Washington, D.C." They often write about non-binary identity and being HIV-positive. They are one of my favorite poets and people on Twitter, offering many words of wisdom and threads on their experiences in navigating the world.
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