What screams I'm out of place

I am neither a woman nor a man

You refer to yourself as "non-binary". What does that mean?

Charlie: The "Bi" in binary means two and in this case refers to the two genders male and female. But there are also people who don't feel like a girl or a boy, so they don't fit into one of these two boxes. These are then called “non-binary” or “non-binary” in English.

When did you realize that you are neither a woman nor a man?

Charlie: I was around 15 years old when I wondered if I might not be a girl after all. I didn't do typically girlish things at the time, but I didn't feel like a boy either. Something was just weird and for a long time I couldn't say what exactly. If someone called me a "girl", for example, something inside me reported and said: "No, no, but that is not entirely true ...". It wasn't until a few months later that I found out for myself that I was “non-binary”. Finding this term for me was very liberating - the confusion was finally out of the way!

You changed your name. What were the hurdles?

Charlie: I haven't officially changed my name yet, because in Germany that is unfortunately still very time-consuming and not that easy. It takes several trials and such complicated stuff to do that. Nevertheless, luckily most of the people around me call me Charlie and use that name whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are also rules there: For example, my official name must be on certificates and on my identity card / passport as well. After all, I have a so-called "supplementary ID" that says Charlie and that I am non-binary. I can show it along with my ID so that people know that I'm being addressed as Charlie.

How do you dress

Charlie: Basically, I dress quite neutrally, usually just a T-shirt and jeans. Since I have short hair, it is likely to look more masculine to many people. I have no real problem with that, however. Actually, I would also find it nice to look a little more feminine every now and then and put on a dress, but I'm afraid that people will immediately label me as a girl, which is why I'm still a bit insecure. But actually I don't want me to be so influenced by other people's opinions.

What bathroom do you go to

Charlie: Yes, toilets, an ugly topic for non-binary people. That's why I'm always really happy when there are all-gender toilets somewhere. These are toilets for people of all genders. Sometimes they are also called unisex toilets. If that is not the case, I go to the ladies' toilet, because I feel more comfortable there - but also because the gentlemen would probably look at me strangely ...

You are committed to ensuring that school sports are rated differently. Why do you think this is important?

Charlie: The evaluation in school sport has its pitfalls for trans * people. A trans boy, for example, has a female body from a biological point of view, but it would be mean to rate him as a girl for this reason. And for people like me there is no solution at all! Therefore, I would find it better if physical education is less assessed according to performance, but rather according to team spirit or how much a person has been able to improve their performance. That is actually much more important!

How can you avoid pronouns like “he” and “she”? What kind of genderless words are there?

Charlie: In German, unlike in English, for example, there is unfortunately no real gender-neutral personal pronoun. “It” isn't pretty either, but rather has a derogatory effect. That is why there are so-called “art pronouns” that people have thought up to replace “he” and “she”. “Xier” would be an example of this. Some people also want no pronoun to be used at all. Both of these are pretty unusual and difficult at first, but should also be respected.

But how do you do that when a person tells, for example, what profession they would like to do later? “Teacher” would actually only refer to men, “doctor” too. For the former one could simply use the word teacher. With the second it gets a little more complicated. Here you can use the asterisk * (sometimes the underscore _), so it would be a doctor or teacher. When you say that, you just pause for the asterisk. There is also a website on the Internet that can help you find gender-neutral terms.

What are you annoyed about?

Charlie: What bothers me in any case is that there is no way for me to be officially non-binary and to be called Charlie. But even smaller things can be pretty stupid: The old name on the certificate or the toilet question. When someone specifically calls me a girl. Or if you ask if Charlie is the nickname for Charlotte, even if we don't really know each other. I prefer it when someone asks how I would like to be addressed and which pronouns I use.

Thank you for the interview!