Communities across the world will be recognizing International Nonbinary People’s Day on Thursday, July 14.
First celebrated in 2012, the date was chosen for being precisely between International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day.
Here in Ohio, Heartland Trans Wellness will be celebrating with an ice cream social on Sunday, July 17 to bring both understanding and community to the nonbinary and ally community in the Cincinnati area.
To find out more about the event and the organization behind the sprinkles, The Buckeye Flame spoke with Elliot Kesse, board member at Heartland Trans Wellness.
For folks who don’t know about Heartland Trans Wellness, tell us about their work.
We’re a local volunteer-run trans support organization and we have monthly peer support meetings and other social events.
How has it been going lately?
It’s been going pretty well. Obviously COVID messed with our meetings. We had gone virtual but we’ve been back in person most of this year. So we’re picking back up.
Since we’re all volunteer, we all have jobs, so our time is somewhat limited. But we’re starting to work on providing more social events. We would obviously like to see some more people at our meetings, but it’s still going well.
If you could wave that magic wand and create some more support services there in your area for our trans siblings, what would you create?
I would say housing is the number one thing that we hear people need help with, paying for an apartment that they’re currently in or something happened and they are suddenly needing emergency housing.
Heartland is under the umbrella of another organization called the Transgender Advocacy Council (TAC). TAC is the administrative side. They’re a 501c3 to which people can donate and get their tax forms. And then TAC helps other organizations like Heartland
We have the trans emergency fund that is run through TAC. We are able to help a little bit with money for housing with people who are in an emergency situation. But it’s limited and we depend on donations for that.
The other thing we need is safe spaces for socialization. There are a lot of trans and nonbinary people who don’t feel welcome or safe going to a lot of general social events because they don’t know if they’re going to be misgendered or welcomed or harassed. So they need safe spaces where they know they can go to just meet people and hang out. And especially outside of bars. There’s a growing request for sober spaces.
Let’s talk about Nonbinary Persons day. Why should we all be celebrating?
Well, obviously because we’re all great and wonderful <laughs>. I’m kidding.
There is a lot going on politically in our current world that’s very anti-trans and anti-nonbinary. There is a lot of misunderstanding or just not knowing about nonbinary people. There’s this misconception that nonbinary identity is something new when it’s really not. Nonbinary has existed as long as humans have existed. We’re in lots of other cultures: Native American, indigenous, and non-Western cultures. For a lot of us who are a little bit older—not teenagers—we didn’t have language for it when we were younger, but I can look back through my life and see, “Oh yeah, that was always there. I was always this way.”
How will the ice cream social help celebrate?
The ice-cream social is open to nonbinary people and allies. We want to bring anyone who is supportive of nonbinary people and welcome them. I know there are a lot of people with questions, so it can be helpful coming to a social where there will be people of all different ages, including an elderly enby like me…
Ok, stop right there. I would normally never ask this, but you just set me up and now you need to tell me how old you are.
<laughs> I’m 42.
Yeah, you can stop that “elderly” nonsense right there.
<laughs> I know, I know. But it’s important to note that a lot of nonbinary people my generation didn’t have that language. Statistically, there has been a significant increase in younger people identifying as nonbinary. So that’s why I like to joke about it. But at a social like this, people can see that this is not just a fad of young people. Nonbinary people are of all ages.
Most importantly, how many different types of ice-cream will there be?
There will be vegan chocolate ice cream with toppings and cookies and coffee and people will have the option of mixing things together.
Sounds like a celebration to me.
Most definitely! 🔥
- Attend the 4th Annual Nonbinary Persons Social at 1pm at Ish Garage (behind Caracole), 1545 Knowlton St in Cincinnati. More information on their Facebook event page here.