Ones and Zeros

I think the world is inherently binary. Yet I sit here exploring the idea that I am not. As an Engineer, everything in my life can generally be described in a series of True/False statements, a boolean value, a series of ones and zeros — binary.

Yet when it comes to gender, the binary system we have defined within society does not cover all possible questions or outcomes. Like missing tests in a deployment pipeline, this results in broken, buggy code that doesn’t work in all use cases.

We are all taught from the moment we are born that we are boys or girls, and with this comes all sorts of predefined baggage. Everything from gendered toys to colors, hairstyles, and activities. There isn’t much wiggle room when it comes to the gender binary. The questions which matter have been decided and the test cases have been written. Any behavior outside of what we have defined must be corrected.

Despite this, I would say that most people, including those who identify as cis-men or cis-women, don’t fully conform with these predefined labels or roles. Some girls wear pants, and some boys like to dance.

I very much find myself in the middle, not fully described by either the girl or boy roles we’ve defined. While I view myself as a girl, as a woman, I have come to realize that a more traditional definition of these gender-identities doesn’t really fit me.

I grew up male and there are parts of my former self that I will carry with me ’til the end of my days. While I prefer gendered female pronouns, I seem to exist somewhere on the non-binary spectrum of gender. A spectrum that most people, including me, have yet to fully understand, but I think that’s ok.

If I had to label my gender-identity today, I would say I am a femme non-binary transgender woman. Quite the mouthful, right?

I am non-binary in the sense that the current set of questions and tests which define who we are relative to gender, has not yet matured to describe people such as myself. That isn’t to say that these established systems can’t be open sourced, forked, and refactored.

While it will take time to rid us of buggy legacy code, I think this process has already begun. New questions are being asked and new test cases defined.

I realize this is an odd analogy, but I never said I wasn’t weird. 🙂