This series is written in collaboration with Glynnis Ritchie.
Here at NewAperio we are taking some time to reflect on the month of June. We were excited to see Juneteenth become a federal holiday and are looking forward to incorporating it into our own holiday schedule in the future. It’s an important day of recognition, celebration, and remembrance in the Black community to commemorate the end of African-American slavery. The fact that Juneteenth falls during Pride Month is a beautiful thing because the Black community has been instrumental in advancing LGBTQ+ rights. Marsha P. (“Pay it no mind”) Johnson, a Black trans woman who is a venerated icon for her transgender activism, was a force behind the Stonewall Riots. These 1969 riots were to protest the violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and led to a new phase in the movement. Since the Stonewall uprising, many Pride events are held annually in June to recognize the impact of the LGBTQ+ community in the world.
NewAperio holds inclusivity and diversity as important cultural values. We also seek to continually improve ourselves through life-long education, and to that end, we are presenting a series of posts with the aim to shed light on a small but important part of the LGBTQ+ community: people existing outside the gender binary. In this series, we will introduce important terminology, provide resources for further study, dive into gender identities and pronouns, describe how we implement and encourage sharing of pronouns in the workplace, and share how we carry over these values into our work with clients.
- Gender: A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.
- Gender Expression: How one expresses oneself through dress and/or behaviors. Society typically characterizes these expressions as "masculine,” “feminine,” or “androgynous.”
- Gender Binary: The classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms of masculine and feminine.
- Gender Identity: A sense of one’s self as trans, genderqueer, woman, man, or some other identity, which may or may not correspond with the sex and gender one is assigned at birth.
- Gender Non-Conforming (GNC): Adjective for people who do not subscribe to societal expectations of typical gender expressions or roles.
- LGBTQ+: Abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (or Questioning), with the plus signifying any others who do not fall under these umbrella terms (such as Intersex and Asexual).
- Non-binary: A gender identity and experience that embraces a full universe of expressions and ways of being that resonate for an individual, moving beyond the male/female gender binary.
- Pronouns: Linguistic tools used to refer to someone in the third person. Examples are they/them/theirs, ze/hir/hirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his. In English and some other languages, pronouns are tied to gender.
- Sex: A medically constructed categorization. Sex is often assigned as “male” or “female” based on the appearance of the genitalia, either by ultrasound or at birth.
- Trans: Short for transgender, an umbrella term for people whose internal knowledge of gender is different from cultural expectations, including but not limited to a woman who was assigned male at birth, non-binary, no gender, and gender non-conforming individuals.
An important part of supporting the trans community is normalizing non-traditional pronoun usage and exposing oneself to the presence of trans people. What we choose to consume in the media can be a great way for broadening our experiences. The NewAperio team has put together a list of resources including our favorite shows, games, comics, and books where we have seen non-traditional pronouns used and the existence of trans individuals normalized. For further edification you can check out the links in additional resources as well. Hopefully you'll find one or more that speak to you!
Television & Games
- Adventure Time (Family-friendly) - BMO is agender and uses she/her and he/him pronouns in this fantasy animated series.
- Billions - In season 2, Showtime’s drama on big financing introduces Taylor Mason as an important friend and rival to the protagonist. Mason is played by Asia Kate Dillon and both are non-binary.
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - In Netflix's dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror and the occult, Lachlan Watson portrays Theo Putnam as the character navigates transitioning from a young woman to a young man.
- The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - A Netflix documentary that re-examines the 1992 death of Marsh P. Johnson.
- Feel Good - Mae Martin who is non-binary plays themself in this Netflix semi-autobiographical comedy.
- GENDERWRECKED - An interactive visual novel with light RPG elements about exploring what gender is and what it means to different individuals.
- Monster Prom - A wonderfully illustrated couch co-op video game that lets players choose they/them pronouns and explore non-heteronormative relationships.
- Orphan Black - A five season Canadian science fiction thriller about several genetically identical human clones — some of whom are LGBTQ+ — who discover each other and try to find answers about their origins while going about their daily lives.
- She-Ra (Family-friendly) - This animated Netflix reboot of the comic series has many LGBTQ+ themes. The shape-shifting Double Trouble is introduced in season 4 and is voice acted by Jacob Tobia, both use they/them pronouns.
- Star Trek Discovery (Family-friendly) - Blu del Barrio portrays Adira Tal in this science fiction epic, both are non-binary.
- Steven Universe (Family-friendly) - Cartoon Network’s animated series with queer and non-binary characters, sensitive and affectionate dads, and chosen family.
- Sense8 - This live-action science fiction drama from Netflix is directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (trans sisters who also directed the Matrix Trilogy) and explores issues related to identity, sexuality, and gender that emerge for the characters who are mentally and emotionally linked (some played by queer and trans actors).
- The Umbrella Academy - Elliot Page plays a gay character in this Netflix superhero series based on the comic books by the same name. When the actor came out as trans after the making of the first seasons, Netflix updated the series credits to use his new name.
Books & Comics
- Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon - Nonfiction: a challenge to see gender not in black and white but in full color.
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse - Epic fantasy: includes many LGBTQ+ individuals and casual use of non-traditional pronouns.
- Gender: Your Guide by Lee Airton, PHD - Nonfiction: a primer on what to know, say, and do in the New Gender Culture.
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo - Fiction: a tale of many characters including one person’s journey transitioning to they/them pronouns.
- Jacob’s Ladder Trilogy by Elizabeth Bear - Science-Fiction: a telling of a planet-sized ship and its inhabitants with many LGBTQ+ characters and themes, including characters with non-traditional pronouns.
- Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin - Science-Fiction: a Terran tries to understand a planet of ambisexual people.
- Loki (Family-friendly) - Comics: the trickster and shapeshifter is canonically gender-fluid throughout the series.
- A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg (Family-friendly) - Nonfiction Comic: a guide on the basics of the LGBTQ+ world including sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and more.
- Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples - Space-Epic/Fantasy Comics: This unweildy, profane, and glorious ode to compassion and equality centers around an inter-species refuge family. There is a beautiful mix of heroes, antiheroes, and villains who span the spectra of age, class, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
- Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia - Nonfiction: The author's memoir on their gender journey.
- Glossary of Terms
- New School’s Policy on Pronouns
- The Gender Unicorn
- Third Gender: A Short History
- UCDavis LGBTQIA Resource Center
Look for more posts in our June Pride series coming soon!
A special shoutout to Glynnis for her illustration of Marsha P. Johnson, created June 2020.
This post is part of our June 2021 Pride series, celebrating a small but important part of the queer community: people existing outside the gender binary.
- "Celebrating Pride": Introduction to important terminology, recommended media, and additional resources
- "More on Gender Identity and Pronouns": A deeper dive into the concepts of gender identities, gender expression, and how they relate to pronouns
- "Growing Our Team and Cultural Practices": How we implement and encourage sharing of pronouns in the workplace
- "Inclusivity in Our Work with Clients": How our core values and workplace culture manifest in our work with clients