Embracing Authentic Identity: Real Voices of Non-Binary People

It’s Pride month 2023 and the highs and lows continue to highlight the importance of embracing authentic identity.

We are using this opportunity to share the thoughts, experiences and perspectives of non-binary individuals who support us, and stand with us on creating a title free society. 

Marital status titles, such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Miss,” and “Ms.,” can be very problematic for non-binary individuals as well as women for several reasons:

  1. Gender Binary Reinforcement:

Marital status titles reinforce the gender binary, assuming that individuals can only be categorised as either male or female. This exclusionary practice fails to acknowledge the existence of non-binary identities and reinforces the societal expectation that everyone must fit into traditional gender roles.

  1. Lack of Inclusivity:

By using titles that are tied to marital status, the assumption is made that an individual’s marital status is an essential piece of information, which may not be the case for everyone. This approach disregards the wonderful diversity of relationships and families, including those who are unmarried, divorced, widowed, or in non-traditional partnerships.

  1. Assumptions about Identity:

The use of marital status titles often assumes that a woman’s identity is connected to her marital status. This can be problematic as it reinforces outdated stereotypes and reduces a woman’s identity to her relationship status, rather than recognizing her as an individual with unique achievements, skills, and aspirations.

  1. Intrusion of Privacy:

Using marital status titles intrudes upon an individual’s privacy. It assumes that one’s marital status is a matter of public concern or relevance. Personal relationships and marital status should be considered as completely private matters and should not be assumed or imposed by default. Marriage is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, and GDPR law states that organisations must have a lawful reason for collecting and storing personal data. 

  1. Unnecessary Hierarchy and Policing:

Marital status titles inadvertently create a hierarchy or judgement based on assumptions about an individual’s personal life. Titles for women perpetuate societal expectations and reinforce unnecessary scrutiny and policing of women’s personal lives.

Encouraging and challenging businesses to eliminate the ask for/ use of titles can help create a more inclusive and respectful environment for individuals of all genders, including non-binary individuals and women. The shift to being ‘title free’ would acknowledge the diversity of identities and emphasises the importance of treating all individuals with dignity and respect, regardless of their relationship status or gender identity.

This is crucial to demonstrating the commitment which many businesses make in their top line visions and missions regarding diversity and inclusion, and is so often overlooked.

We have collated some of key comments received through the GoTitleFree website from non-binary people who champion title freedom, challenge traditional gender norms and advocate for a more inclusive world. 

Through these powerful contributions, we explore why authentic identity matters, not only for non-binary individuals themselves but for society as a whole. These voices inspire us to celebrate diversity, promote understanding, and create spaces where everyone can thrive.

Embracing Our True Selves:

“I stand before you today as a non-binary person, someone who does not identify strictly as male or female. For far too long, society has insisted on confining individuals within the binary construct of gender, dismissing those who don’t fit neatly into predefined boxes. But our identities are valid, beautiful, and diverse.

Authentic identity is crucial because it allows individuals to live free from the constraints of societal expectations. When we embrace who we truly are, we foster self-acceptance, self-love, and mental well-being. By dismantling the binary framework, we open up spaces for everyone to express themselves authentically, unburdened by the limitations of rigid gender norms.”

Building Bridges of Understanding:

“As a non-binary person, I have experienced the power of authentic identity first hand. It goes beyond self-expression; it bridges gaps and fosters understanding between people. When we allow individuals to embrace their authentic selves, we create space for empathy, compassion, and connection.

Authentic identity challenges us to question preconceived notions and biases. It teaches us that gender is a spectrum, not a binary. By celebrating diverse identities, we broaden our perspectives and enrich our communities. When we understand that gender is not confined to male or female, we can appreciate the beautiful tapestry of humanity.”

Paving the Way for Future Generations:

“Imagine a world where every child grows up knowing that their authentic self is celebrated and respected!

– By embracing authentic identity, we pave the way for a more inclusive future. Something which is so importand to me and to my children.

As non-binary individuals, we have a responsibility to advocate for change, to ensure that future generations are not limited by narrow definitions of gender.

Authentic identity is important because it allows individuals to dream, to aspire, and to achieve their full potential. When we create environments where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued, we empower young minds to be more open than ever before. Employers have a responsibility to do this for their people and for the wider public who might buy their products and associate with their brand. 

By dismantling the barriers of societal expectations, we unlock possibilities and unleash creativity.”

The voices of non-binary individuals resonate with us, and reinforces the urgency of embracing authentic identity in our society. Their speeches highlight the importance of breaking free from gender binaries, fostering understanding, and creating a world where everyone can live as their true selves. (Something which many people have, and never even have to think about). 

By recognising and celebrating the diversity of human experiences, we lay the foundation for a more inclusive future, where every individual can thrive. 

Let us amplify these voices and reflect on why the existence of titles is such a huge barrier, to enabling authentic identity. 

Please sign our petition and share our toolkits with organisations who continue to ask for title information!

Stella Sutcliffe

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