It’s important for nonbinary people to be able to live, dress and have their gender identity respected at work, at school and in public spaces and this includes tutoring and support services. Today Oases Online has added ‘NonBinary’ as an additional gender option in student and tutor records in the Oases Online tutoring management system.
This will allow Oases customers to ask potential students and applicants for tutor positions if they identify as male, female or nonbinary and in doing so help spread acceptance and inclusion. The nonbinary option has been added to manual record creation and display, import options, WebForms and tutor matching features such as Intelligent Match and Schedule Bid.
In researchingg this project I did a lot of reading and wanted to include some helpful information I found along the way including the following from NCTE – The National Center for Transgender equality.
Most people – including most transgender people – are either male or female. But some people don’t neatly fit into the categories of “man” or “woman,” or “male” or “female.” For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender. Some people’s gender changes over time.
People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with nonbinary being one of the most common. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, and more. None of these terms mean exactly the same thing – but all speak to an experience of gender that is not simply male or female.
Some societies – like ours – tend to recognize just two genders, male and female. The idea that there are only two genders is sometimes called a “gender binary,” because binary means “having two parts” (male and female). Therefore, “non-binary” is one term people use to describe genders that don’t fall into one of these two categories, male or female.
How to Be Respectful and Supportive
It isn’t as hard as you might think to be supportive and respectful of nonbinary people, even if you have just started to learn about them.
You don’t have to understand what it means for someone to be nonbinary to respect them. Some people haven’t heard a lot about nonbinary genders or have trouble understanding them, and that’s okay. But identities that some people don’t understand still deserve respect.
Use the name a person asks you to use. This is one of the most critical aspects of being respectful of a nonbinary person, as the name you may have been using may not reflect their gender identity. Don’t ask someone what their old name was.
Try not to make any assumptions about people’s gender. You can’t tell if someone is nonbinary simply by looking at them, just like how you can’t tell if someone is transgender just by how they look.
If you’re not sure what pronouns someone uses, ask. Different nonbinary people may use different pronouns. Many nonbinary people use “they” while others use “he” or “she,” and still others use other pronouns. Asking whether someone should be referred to as “he,” “she,” “they,” or another pronoun may feel awkward at first, but is one of the simplest and most important ways to show respect for someone’s identity.
Advocate for nonbinary friendly policies. It’s important for nonbinary people to be able to live, dress and have their gender respected at work, at school and in public spaces.
Understand that, for many nonbinary people, figuring out which bathroom to use can be challenging. For many nonbinary people, using either the women’s or the men’s room might feel unsafe, because others may verbally harass them or even physically attack them. Nonbinary people should be supported by being able to use the restroom that they believe they will be safest in.
Talk to nonbinary people to learn more about who they are. There’s no one way to be nonbinary. The best way to understand what it’s like to be nonbinary is to talk with nonbinary people and listen to their stories.
Further Reading – Sometimes the T in the LBGT gets overlooked – From Teaching Tolerance check out this article Being there for Nonbinary Youth.
Useful definition chart.