If you follow Tiny Bangs on Instagram, you might have caught Riot’s coming out as non-binary. Not only is this a big step for them, it might also be confusing for some of our audience so they agreed to sit down and answer questions from you. This is how it went.
What is non-binary?
Non-binary or genderqueer means that you don't don't identify as a binary gender like boy or girl. Gender is weird and I think it's kind of made up so people can fit you into one box or another, but there's so many more options than that. It's boring.
What are your pronouns?
My pronouns are they/them. I've heard people go by Ze too, but I think it's easier for people to learn they. It feels right to me.
Aren't you a little young to decide your identity?
NO! You can never be too young to decide who you are. For me, I've always felt this way and it took a lot of soul searching and finding the right words to describe it to others. I hate when people don't respect kids. They're people too.
How did you know what non-binary meant? Is there anything about how you were raised that helped your self discovery?
It's something that I've been dealing with for awhile. It was hard trying to wrap my head around it and accept it. My family is very loving and open-minded and we have lots of friends who are gay, trans, and everything else so gender has been brought up and discussed, but not like, forced if that makes sense? Growing up like that made me feel more comfortable telling my mom. I told her I didn't feel like a girl or boy and she asked me if I might be non-binary. I watched some YouTube videos and it clicked for me. I also really love this singer named Dorian Electra because I watched a makeup video they did and I really related to how they were kind of girly, kind of manly, and just overall cool and confident. I felt like I was looking at myself.
Would you be bothered if someone called you she/her?
It would hurt my feelings. It's like if you told me who you are and how much it meant to you and I disrespected that. It's not nice and it makes me feel not safe or listened to.
How has your family responded? Is your sister Anni adjusting?
I don't know why, but I was kind of scared to tell them even though I knew they wouldn't be mad. I told my mom first and she hugged me. My dad is more quiet, but he told me he just wants me to be who I am. Anni still calls me sister but she's getting better at just calling me her sibling. I don't get too frustrated though. I love her.
How have your friends and peers reacted?
It's still pretty new. I told my mom to tell people on Tiny Bangs first because they seem really nice. Everyone was supportive which helped my confidence. I'm out of school for summer so my classmates don't know yet. I think my friends love me and will understand. I'm worried about teachers and people who don't know me well.
What would you do if someone doesn't like who you are?
I'll tell them to fuck off.
Do you think you'll change your appearance?
I still look like a girl I guess to everyone else and I like wearing makeup and skirts, but I've also always liked to look tough like wearing flames and spikes. I don't think that will change much. I do want to shave the side of my head and maybe dye the shaved part black. Maybe get second ear piercings on each ear. Those are things I was planning on anyway. I don't think anything you do as a non-binary person makes you more or less non-binary. It's different for everyone.
Do you feel more like a girl or a boy or neither?
I learned about being gender fluid recently which is similar to non-binary except somedays you feel like a girl and somedays like a boy, it just depends. I don't identify with either, but I like things people say are only for boys or girls. It doesn't really matter because I think I should be able to like whatever I like. It doesn't change the fact that deep inside, I'm neither.
How did it feel to come out?
Like a big weight off my shoulders. It caused me a lot of anxiety, I'd stay up really late some nights, and bite my nails. I feel more relaxed. I feel like laughing a lot because I feel so light. I wish I would've said something earlier.