As a black non-binary queer person, Thomas Hudson from Pennsylvania is used to the questions and stares they get for simply existing.
Thomas, whose pronouns are they/them, identifies as non-binary.
One day, while out shopping at the supermarket and wearing a fabulous red shirt and skirt number, Thomas was called out by a fellow customer, which they wrote about in a now-viral Facebook post.
The person had said Thomas was confusing people, saying to them: ‘Why are you wearing that, you’re confusing folks? Do you want to be a boy or a girl?’
Thomas expertly replied: ‘Neither, I want to be comfortable and left the f**k alone.
‘ The source of your confusion is not my concern, nor my responsibility. I wore this today because I wanted to.
‘If you’d like to make a monthly donation to my wardrobe, I’d be happy to consider your opinion on my attire.’
It’s a level of confidence and wit we have no choice but to stan.
We caught up with Thomas, who was overwhelmed with all the attention which came in the form of 47,000 likes and 20,000 shares online.
They explained: ‘Something in me one day just clicked. After much therapy, learning from other visible non-binary folks, and learning to love myself, I woke up with a desire to be who I am and not give anyone an explanation on why my identity is valid.
‘Every day I remind myself that I owe no one an explanation.
‘People often feel entitled to shared their “ discomfort” with me.
‘For a while, I accepted the responsibility to make sense of it for others, but I struggled to do so because I couldn’t make sense of it to myself.
‘I only recently found the confidence to start identifying as non-binary.
In the beginning, I was afraid of being forced to be “ one or the other”.
‘My existence is beyond the binary. I was unsure of how to explain my identity to folks in a way that made them feel that I am not someone to be afraid of. As a black visible queer person, most of my life has been about developing creative ways to, directly and indirectly, explain to non-black folks that I am not a threat.
‘That I can still do things that “men do” or that I can be fem in a way that is acceptable.’
Thomas, who works as a youth engagement coordinator, says that they facilitate training in sexual orientation, gender identity and expression while doing LGBTQ+ advocacy work.
‘I have learned that people are confused and uncomfortable when they don’t understand how to categorise you,’ they added.
‘Some will ask questions, spew hateful comments, and others will simply ignore your existence.
‘Their negative reaction or lack thereof, doesn’t make non-binary identities less valid.’
Thomas wants people to understand non-binary people better and says not to categorise them as a monolith.
‘Gender identity is dictated by your deep internal understanding of who you are, not from society,’ they add.
‘There is no one way to be non-binary.
‘After my post there has been an overwhelming amount of love. The messages, the shares, and comments.
‘Literally, the love and gratitude are unmatched. I hope people will take time to find non-binary people in their communities and show them that same love that has been shared with me.
‘We all need love and affirmations.’
Thomas also has some words of encouragement for those going through a similar situation: ‘Your identity is valid and to never let anyone make you feel less than.
‘People will always be uncomfortable, or will try to invalidate who you are with their hate.
‘Remember that the only validation that you should seek is the one from the beautiful person you see in the mirror.
‘Societies“ discomfort” with you is not your responsibility, so do not give them the power or the energy by explaining what makes you non-binary.
‘We have been here for centuries and will be here for many more to come.
‘Stand in your truth.’
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