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If you’re someone who is unfamiliar with transgender and nonbinary terminology and need a simple guide on how to be inclusive, this is for you! Here are six straightforward steps to take in your everyday interactions:

1. Understand LGBTQ+ gender terminology.

2. Ask for and introduce yourself with your pronouns.

3. Abandon gendered language.

4. Avoid assumptions.

5. Actively adjust and be accountable.

6. Spread the word.

  1. Understand what these LGBTQ+ gender terms mean. Every person’s gender identity means something different to them personally, but it’s good to have a general idea of the common definitions for these identities.
  • LGBTQ+: An extremely diverse and resilient solidarity community that includes people of non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender identities. The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer. The + reflects that there are many more identities included within this community. …

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Thanks to my upbringing in the house of a service-minded single mother, who was in turn raised among nine siblings by an beneficent matriarch, I have always understood the importance of civil participation, and looked forward to the opportunity to exercise my right to vote. 2020 is my second opportunity to cast a vote in a presidential election. In 2016, shortly after graduating from high school, my 18th birthday just barely fell before the deadline for me to vote for the first time.

Four years later, I’ll be completing my master’s degree this December, and I dearly hope that my graduation month will be the last of the Trump presidency. Whether this hope is realized is in your hands and mine. Since the choice to vote is easy for me, and encouraging others to vote is what I live and breathe as the hours count down, I want to take the opportunity to explain why you should vote like I do, even if you don’t have the same experiences as me. …

Tomorrow, my mom will head out at 5 am to report to the polling place that she has been assigned to work, and she won’t be allowed to leave the site until two hours after the polls close. She’s deeply nervous about ‘proud boy’-types showing up outside with big guns; and I’m worried about her extended exposure to covid risk. I won’t let her leave the house without double layers of masks, a face shield, and extra gloves. …

This month, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark decision that finally makes it illegal for workers to be fired because of their queer sexual orientations or gender identities. After nonstop fighting for equity on this issue, at least 1.4 million trans people around the country can take a breath. Nevertheless, trans people will still face many hardships in their employment as a result of their gender identities.

Trans people deal with hiring discrimination and harassment in the office environment, such as deadnaming and misgendering. Additionally, transgender people who are undergoing gender transition in the middle of their employment have to manage legal name changes, medical changes, coming out to coworkers, concerns about when to disclose gender identity to hiring managers, supervisors, coworkers, and clients, and more. …

I realized this week that the anniversary of me coming out as nonbinary to my family, friends, and followers passed on April 20th, and I thought I should have done something or written something up to commemorate it. Truth is though, I don’t have much to say about my personal experiences. Being out as my true gender identity is great, and I’m so, so glad that I came out when I did. I have to thank the other out non-cis people in my life for giving me the inspiration to take that step one year ago. Going back and looking the receipts, I’d been slowly identifying as nonbinary more and more publicly for YEARS — it’s almost wild to think about now. Anyway…I don’t wake up ever day and think “what a wonderful day to be nonbinary”! Being nonbinary doesn’t determine what I select for breakfast and has little influence on how I decide to style my outfit and hair that day. So, there’s little to report for the Nonbinary Status of Madalyn. (And even if there were, y’all know I am closed book of the “spell-sealed ancient tome” tier.) …


Madalyn Williams

they/them. Black, queer, and nonbinary creative, policy wonk, and organizer.

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