A guest post by @vergess.
What is a nonbinary person’s “Gender Alignment”?
You may have seen terms such as “male aligned” and “female aligned” floating around the internet in the last year or so. This is an attempt to label the paradoxical double0existence of many nonbinary people.
Because of the way their identities intersect with the gender binary, there are times when it is useful to categorize ourselves as having overlapping experiences with either men, or women. If there is a very large amount of overlap, such as if one is exclusively perceived as a man/woman and is therefore subject to the specific social backlash that effects those classes, it can be valuable to “align” ourselves with those classes, to have meaningful discussions about how oppression functions.
For example, although a cis man of color and a proxvir person of the same race will experience their own genders differently, and internalize very different narratives, both will be subject to the same external forces of male-specific racism (eg: assumption of violent intent, being perceived as adult even when children, etc).
Similarly, a cis woman with Complex PTSD (also called Borderline Personality) is going to be subject to a lot of vicious medical misogyny regarding her diagnosis and treatment. An ambonec person perceived (and misgendered) primarily as female will be subject to very, very similar, if not identical, medical abuses.
There is value in being able to say, “I am negatively affected by this specific set of gendered preconceptions, even though I am not actually of this gender.”
This was the intended purpose of terms such as “male aligned” and “female aligned.” To identify strong overlaps in external pressures and experiences, or to identify overlaps in personal identity with the experiences of another gender.
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way.
What went wrong?
The same thing that always goes wrong when nonbinary people are being scrutinized: gender alignment language was, and is, used as a way to “prove” that nonbinary people are really male or female, and in many cases, to prove that nonbinary people are cis.
This sort of problem had cropped up occasionally before, but the uprise of anti a-spec discourse and the strong enforcement of the Same/Similar Gender Attraction model really brought us to a tipping point.
For many nonbinary people, terms like “woman aligned” or “man aligned” are no longer useful for their intended purpose: describing our experiences of gendered violence in society.
This is an especially brutal loss to Nonbinary people of color, for whom gendered violence is much starker than white people, but it negatively impacts us all.
So what can we do about it?
What we always do: evolve and thrive.
As our language is taken from us, we endeavour to create new terms that will fulfill our needs without being subject to the same weaknesses as the older language.
We know, for example, that the inclusion of man, woman, male and female in alignment language created a dangerous opening for abuse by cis binarist and exorsexist people trying to erase our experiences and identities.
The obvious solution, then, is to create terms that fulfill this necessary language gap, but do not offer immediate recourse to “Hah! I knew you were a man/woman/cis person all along!” for those would silence and harm us.
With that in mind, after some group discussion, we would like to present a possible solution.
Space is genderless. Of course it is. But simultaneously, many aspects of space are gendered, whether for artistic, religious, or cultural reasons. Likewise, nonbinary identities have long has associations with space, from modern xenogenders, to the mythological gods and heroes of old that are immortalized in constellations and pantheons.
With consideration to both that history, and the fact that these terms need to describe both that we are not of these genders, and yet that other people force those genders on us and create this experience, we propose the following terms.
Stellarian: With as many possible identities and presentations as there are stars in the sky, a Stellar Nonbinary Person, or Stellarian, would be someone who does not experience strong alignment with either binary gender, or who rejects such alignment.
Solarian: In many cultures and religious systems, the sun is associated with masculinity, and male energy. As a result, a Solar Nonbinary Person, or Solarian, would be someone who has similarities in identity or experience with men. The term functions as a less easily abused form of “male aligned.”
Lunarian: In equally many cultures, where the sun is man, the moon is woman and feminine energy. As a result, a Lunar Nonbinary Person, or Lunarian, would be someone who has similarities in identity or experience with women. It functions as a less easily abused term for “female aligned.”