Five Questions for Brookelyn Wilson, a nonbinary college student

Brandon Paykamian • Nov 10, 2019 at 4:25 PM

Brookelyn Wilson, 24, is a parent and full-time student at Northeast State Community College who eventually plans to open a comic shop that “will be a safe haven to the LGBTQ community.”

Wilson is also nonbinary, which means they do not identify as male or female. Like many who identify as such, Wilson uses the singular “they” as their pronoun.

While nonbinary gender identities have been recognized in various cultures for centuries, Wilson said being nonbinary today still comes with some unique challenges in life. 

“I realized I was nonbinary when I was around 12 years old. I didn't feel comfortable in either gender, in clothing, labels or my own body,” Wilson said. “I don’t claim male or female as my gender.”

Wilson recently reached out to the Johnson City Press to tell us more about what it’s like to live as nonbinary, starting with some personal fast facts.

Wilson Briefly:

Major: Business management 

Pronouns: They/them/their

Dogs or cats: “I am an animal lover. All animals.”

Favorite TV show: “Doctor Who”

Favorite musicians: Freezepop and Pink Floyd

What challenges do nonbinary people face, in your experience?

I face a lot of misgendering, especially from other students. Some days, I want to write my pronouns on my head. Teachers are often the least supportive. They claim it’s grammatically incorrect. 

My biggest pet peeve is people who do not respect or try to use correct pronouns for people in their lives.

What changes would you hope to see for nonbinary people?

In the future, I would love to see workplace changes to where people who identify as a different gender can be comfortable and accepted, not fearing they will lose their jobs.

Which LGBTQ figures do you think members of the community should look to for guidance? Who inspires you most?

My biggest role models were my friends when I came out as nonbinary. Their support was always there. Now as an adult, I look up to many people in the LBGTQ community, including some local drag queens who I have developed close relationships with. They have been in my same position before, not being accepted.

Are you optimistic that nonbinary folks can make strides for equality in the coming years?

Equality will slowly come as times change in the LGBTQ community. The menstrual pad controversy (in which some companies have stopped marketing the products as solely for women) is beginning to open the door for us. Maybe it will become a social norm to ask people their pronouns.

What advice would you have for people examining their gender identity or thinking about coming out as nonbinary? 

The best advice I was ever given was, "If it makes you happy, then do it — regardless of what others think of you. Make your soul happy first." Don’t put others' happiness before your own.

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