I’m CK and I identify as non-binary and use they/them pronouns.

I was recently asked to read the Vatican’s lengthy documentation ‘Male and female he created them’ and express my perception.

I am incredibly grateful to have paraded in the queer liberation march with ‘Voices4’ direct action activist group on Sunday at World pride hosted in NYC and to feature in Vogue magazine doing so. I am also very grateful to have paraded with them again this weekend at London Pride. Both Marches were unifying in representing LGBTQIA+, non-binary, trans, queer homeless and migrants and bringing messages from those around the world who are unable to openly celebrate their sexuality, chosen gender or gender fluidity within the countries they reside.

Born into the world as a free spirit I grew up in Fermanagh, in a traditional Irish household with a supportive family which I am very grateful for. I had zero exposure to any so called “social conditioning” regarding gender or sexuality, and there was no open discussion in my education within the realms of gender or sexuality. I had a very heteronormative upbringing - denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the preferred or ‘normal’ sexual orientation.

I always knew I felt “differently” than those close to me but didn’t question it. I really enjoyed my upbringing and socialising with friends from all backgrounds and religions and have always maintained an open mind. I am also grateful that I was brought up a Catholic and I still respect and maintain a faith and pray whilst being open and receptive to the spiritual realm and other religions.

I wore more “masculine clothing,” played football- deemed a more “masculine” sport at the time and as I was born a female and interested in more masculine pastimes and fashion, therefore was given the label of a “tomboy.”

Lately the term “non-binary” has become more increasingly used. And it means to be non of the binary, in simple terms, it’s a label indicative of not labelling. Not to be confused with the term gender non-conforming - which means relates to physical appearance and dressing in a way that may not adhere to societal norms of gender.

Non-binary can also be used by heterosexuals, it is not solely used within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Conceptualising, “interpreting” and labelling allows for some people to feel comfortable with something they do not understand, often without the willingness or openness to learn or become more educated to the true meaning or deeper essence.

Judgment is a lack of understanding and it is easier to judge than it is to think.

Society often encourages the intellectually and mentally overstimulated civilisation to judge and conceptualising then leads to barriers. Non-binary incorporates gender fluidity, gender neutrality, honouring your true feelings. Essentially being without having to label or explain how you feel within your mind, body and soul. There is no expectation of a male acting/dressing in a way that “fits” societies’ conditions or a female doing the same. Regardless of sexuality or gender, some straight men can “act” in feminine ways.

Religion and spirituality teach us the same in my opinion - acceptance, openness, and love and compassion for all. Everything in life is based on perception, and perception changes based on your window of understanding.

Having read the article released on the June 10, 2019 by the Vatican which states how gender and sexuality should be taught in the catholic education system.

I am not judging, I am making a few observations based on my experiences, growth and perception.

My perception of this piece is that it is written without a full understanding of all viewpoints and some of the sections generalise with a view of inhibiting people to be who/as they are.

In section two of the Vatican documentation it states, “human identity becomes the choice of the individual.”

Sexuality and gender are not a choice. Sexuality is a spectrum. Gender is a spectrum. In my opinion we are all born with a pure identity and it is up to us to tap into that identity and live it out by being true to our authentic selves.

However I understand that in doing so you enter into the minority and open yourself up to vulnerability and at times judgement of others, so this may not be easy or feel safe. Judgment says more about the person judging than those being judged.

I am aware of people who have chosen to hide their identity/gender/sexuality from their family or friends for fear of the consequences.

Within the LGBTQIA+ community bullying, trauma, suicide is prevalent due to lack of understanding and discrimination.

Identity isn’t a choice but living your true identity is, embracing yourself for who you are regardless of others beliefs. There is incredible strength in vulnerability.

In section four it says, “our sexuality plays an integral part in the development of our personality.”

I would say our personality plays a part in our sexuality, allowing yourself to be who you are. As a kid I chose to play football, I chose to play with gender neutral toys, I chose the colours I wanted to wear, I chose the events I wanted to go to, again with loving support from my family/ I am aware of friends who sadly don’t have that loving support or open dialogue with their family due to generational, societal and sometimes ignorant misunderstanding.

The article states “dictating how kids should be raised.” This subjective viewpoint perhaps points to a lack of understanding, on how to approach how gender and sexuality will be taught in such a way that it won’t influence a child to “choose” their identity is a limiting belief. Again section eight speaks of the “external conditioning” and it’s influence on determining personality.

Whilst the article could be read in that its approach is encouraging conditioning of a cisgender approach in a rigid system that once a child is taught what the expectations of a man are and a woman are they should adhere to these and remain in those social constructs is unrealistic in my opinion.

The document also speaks of “gender theory as a gradual process of denaturalisation that is a move away from ... and towards an absolute opition for the decision of the feelings of the subject.”

Denaturalisation? yes to the feelings and honour those feelings. Freedom to be who you are and living the truth of your existence, honouring both genders that are inherently there with fluidity.

We should support kids allowing them to be without trying to inhibit or influence their choices. Kids are pure and take on energies and layers as they grow and I feel it’s important to be conscious of impartiality and openness.

So when they are older they are able to shine through unapologetically in their truth and there is no confusion. There is clarity.

Some areas are more progressive, forward thinking and inclusive and this allows for openness, honesty and acceptance which is very important within the realms of sexuality and gender. This enables this generation to feel more supported in the choices that they are allowed to make freely and pave the way for generations to come, however there is still a lot of work to be done.

Everyone is entitled to freedom of choice.This shouldn’t be hidden. Children should be allowed to be exposed to all the options in life available in many aspects inevitably they will choose to live how they want to regardless, whether it be in their youth or when they’re older. The conditions people are exposed to isn’t necessarily what they conform to or choose to live by in any aspect.

Gender and sexuality are not choices but the choice of openness and freedom should be guaranteed without discrimination.

Some choose to live true to their identity later in life after schooling/education. Change in beliefs would help kids from the outset and families in equanimity to better understand gender and sexuality and allow love and acceptance to flow through with less family break downs in communication, isolation or long standing disagreements, bullying, all caused by a lack of understanding.

Allow people to feel comfortable with their identity without the pressure from societal and religious conforms.

As the saying goes “the past is a good place to visit but certainly not a great place to stay.”

Non-binary and transgender are currently underrepresented and misunderstood.