This Hashtag Is Sparking An Important Conversation About Gender

by James Hale

On May 17, nonbinary filmmaker and activist Fox Fisher and their partner Owl appeared in a Good Morning Britain segment with Piers Morgan. And on May 21, Fisher launched the Twitter hashtag #ThisIsWhatNonbinaryLooksLike, for nonbinary folks to post selfies showing the diverse ways they express their gender identities, in response to the "intense" days that followed the segment.

The segment was supposed to give Fisher and Owl a chance to explain what "nonbinary" means. Instead, Morgan "dominated" the conversation, Fisher tells Bustle, interrupting to interject his negative opinions of nonbinary folks.

A typical interaction in the segment: "You've gotta respect what people want to be called," Fisher told Morgan, to which Morgan shot back, "Why do I have to? Why do I have to? If I turned round right now and said to you, 'I am a black woman...'"

And apparently Morgan wasn't content with that — he took to Twitter afterward to reaffirm that he doesn't agree with or understand what he calls "non-binary gender neutrality."

"Nonbinary people are up against a lot of prejudice from cis people and even some binary trans people," Fisher tells Bustle. "The major issue with nonbinary awareness seems to be that people aren't sure what nonbinary people look like...I would like to live in a world where gender expression isn't policed."

In reality, there's no wrong way to be nonbinary, no wrong way to look as a nonbinary person, and no wrong way to express gender identity. That's why Fisher created #ThisIsWhatNonbinaryLooksLike, and that's why hundreds of nonbinary folks have been filling the hashtag with photos of themselves. Looking nonbinary is as simple as looking like yourself.

Check out some of our favorite contributions below.

1. Nonbinary Looks Like This

2. And Like This

3. And This

4. Nonbinary Looks Like This, Too

5. And This

6. And This

7. And This

The hashtag was retweeted by Piers Morgan with a transphobic comment, and unfortunately trolls have been pouring in to contribute transphobic memes, "but they just can't keep us down!" Fisher says. "Trans issues are becoming more nuanced — we finally have space for beyond the binary."

They add, "After such an intense week, this is such a breath of fresh air. It really feels like we are moving somewhere. I'm excited that this hashtag will always exist now."

Hashtags like #ThisIsWhatNonbinaryLooksLike are necessary not only to give folks who may not understand nonbinary identities a glimpse at the varied ways in which nonbinary folks identify and express their genders, but to give nonbinary folks a sense of community. No matter what challenges we face, the people and photos in #ThisIsWhatNonbinaryLooksLike will always remind us there are people who understand.