Ever since I was a teenager, I have used “they” pronouns instead of “he” or “she.” I know, this concept may be unfamiliar. You may be wondering, “How is that possible? How can you expect me to refer to one single person as ‘they’?” Don’t worry, I am here to patiently explain. I use “they” pronouns because I’m non-binary, and also because I’m always surrounded by a swarm of bees.
It’s simple, really. Being non-binary means I don’t identify as a man or a woman. My identity has elements of masculinity and femininity, and some that don’t fit into the gender binary at all. I’m also always surrounded by my beautiful, powerful, bees, and so when you refer to me, I ask that you refer to them as well, as they are also an important part of my identity. “They” is a gender-neutral pronoun that acknowledges my non-binary identity, and also includes my bees.
Hopefully you’re starting to understand: Gender is a social construct, and thousands of bees are constantly swarming around my face and body.
Was I born this way? What a great question! I believe gender is not something babies are born with, but instead something people learn from external social and cultural cues over time. I was, however, born covered head to toe in live bees. Wherever I go, my bees come with me in a massive, buzzing cloud. So although my gender has fluctuated, I have always had my bees, so I have always been a “they.”
In case you’re wondering, yes, my mother accepts me for who I am. She doesn’t love to talk about bees though, and she does not like to talk about my birth.
I know it can be hard for people to accept someone like me: A nonbinary human who is always mysteriously shrouded in a cloud of bees. Believe it or not, my bees and I have had to work to accept each other, too. I have learned to accept their highly binary matriarchal social structure. They have learned to accept that I sometimes want to drink a can of soda without them immediately flying inside it.
Our life is not perfect – my bees do sting me once in a while, but honestly it’s the sting of misgendering that hurts me the most.
So please make an effort to refer to me with “they” pronouns. It may be difficult at first, but it gets easier with practice and time. And besides – do you really want to piss off a person who is constantly surrounded by bees?