A Story For Non-Binary Awareness Week

I did a LinkedIn rewrite session with someone who told me a story I want to share with you this week, especially because it happens to be Non-Binary Awareness Week.

Michelle (name changed for privacy) started working for her Dad when she was 16. He specialized in dentures and geriatric dentistry. “He was an artisan more than a dentist,” she said while describing his work. I get it. Making smiles is art.

One day her Dad asked that she sit with a patient while they prepared for the procedure of removing her last natural teeth to implant dentures. As Michelle walked into the room, she noticed tears streaming down the woman’s face. She was trembling and scared.

Somehow 16-year-old Michelle had the foresight to know that the next best thing to do was hold the woman’s hand. To remind her of how beautiful she would be. To listen to her fears. To let her know she’s not alone.

I think we both started crying as she told that story because we know what it means to be seen and have someone grab your hand in solidarity, especially when you’re scared.

This is an important story to share as we wrap up Non-Binary Awareness Week because visibility is a big step toward a more safe world for gender non-conforming people. There are many places in this country and around the world where being seen is a non-binary person’s biggest fear. It could even be a death sentence.

Allowing others to see us leads to hard conversations and hurtful questions. Sometimes it even fractures families. We’re treated like some fad when the truth is that non-binary history goes back before gender. Before colonization.

We celebrate weeks like this to build understanding. To create hope. To broaden awareness and honor those who came before us. Ultimately, to transform other’s knowledge of our identities from a fad into the truth: that we are beautiful human beings who represent the best of every binary and space that’s all our own.

So this week, I want you to hold someone’s hand. Maybe not literally, but let’s take a small action to make someone feel seen – whether they’re non-binary or not. Why? Every time you literally (or proverbially) reach out to someone and say “I’ll help you,” you help them build the endurance to get through the hard things. You help them acquire the perseverance over time to live a life with no second-guessing, which is especially important to people who often feel questioned just for existing or loving someone.

Maybe you don’t literally see them this week. Perhaps it’s liking a tweet or sending a DM. A phone call or text. I don’t know your way. But it’s the small signals we put into this world that say I see you, and I’m with you. You got this.

It’s the virtual equivalent of holding someone’s hand and reminding them that the future is beautiful.

Why wouldn’t we do that?


What else did I write this week? Better Job Posting Strategies for the Current Hiring Landscape (and Beyond)

LGBT and Diversity Weekly Letters

Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. All of this. I am thinking of the nurse who held my hand when I had to have surgery after a miscarriage (after the trauma of profound bleeding that started at work). in the recovery room, I just started crying when I was awake enough to start feeling emotions again. She didn’t say anything, she just grabbed my hand and held tight. I did go on to have 2 children so that means I am a mom – these babies out here killing themselves shatters my heart into a thousand little pieces. My undying pledge is I will ALWAYS work to honor someone’s pronouns (I am learning). I will ALWAYS work toward consistently asking for pronoun identification (I am learning) and I will keep holding someone’s hand when I know it will help. If I am not sure it will help, I will try anyway. Michela

    • I appreciate you, and your sharing this, more than I can begin to explain. You get it. You make this world better just by being in it.

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