Hi, I’m a nonbinary person (“What the heck does that mean??” Click here.). I’m also dating someone (who’s super awesome) and getting ready for all the fun/stress of the controversial February holiday. This post is a guide for what to give a nonbinary person for Valentine’s Day. (Some of these apply whether you’re dating them or not – you should show your friends and family some love too!)
Nonbinary people kinda love video games
In my relationship, my partner is the video game king, and I usually am content with watching him play. But I do still like a few games myself (Pokémon is a big one ofc, but I’m also pretty partial to early 90’s JRPGs). Most of my nonbinary friends are even bigger video game nerds than I am. Just make sure you know their style – maybe don’t get BattleTanx for someone who loves Animal Crossing – and what system(s) they have. Nobody likes to be given a game they can’t play.
Hint: If your nonbinary partner has a Steam account, be sure to check their wishlist!
Clothes can be super important
A lot of nonbinary people struggle with the disconnect between what our gender actually is and how other people perceive our gender based on how we look. Your nonbinary partner might appreciate new clothes in a style that helps them portray their gender how they want – this might be more feminine, more masculine, or more androgynous than you’re used to seeing them dressed, and any of those are totally fine.
Bonus: For a really great present, accompany us shopping. Sometimes just having support with us can make going for those clothes easier. (Please stare down any cashiers or other customers who try to stink-eye us, also!)
Two words: warm stuff
You know who likes to be cold? Nobody I know. February is often the coldest month of the year in many places in the Northern Hemisphere. A good blanket (bonus points for electric), a new scarf and gloves, or even some fluffy socks – any of these are great for making sure the nonbinary object of your affection stays nice and toasty through the second half of winter.
Pronouns, people, please
This might seem cliche by now but it really is important to us. Using our correct pronouns tells us you accept us for who we are, that you’re someone we can trust, and that you really do have respect for us. It’s important to use our pronouns with everyone that we’re “out” to (though if we’re still closeted, please don’t out us! You can always ask if we’re out to someone if you’re not sure).
And, please: If you do accidentally screw up and drop the wrong pronoun, don’t make a giant deal of it and don’t make it all about you and how awful you are for messing up. 99% of the time, a simple, “oh sorry, I mean they,” (and moving on with the conversion) is all that’s needed.
Physical stuff can be appropriate
For nonbinary people, like trans people in general, we can be afraid of our bodies and how other people think of them. There’s often a fear that we’re seen as disgusting and that no one will want to touch us. (This is more prominent for some than for others, but anyway~)
So, a good way to help combat this is by giving us physical affection. Obviously, you need consent and you can’t push the person in question’s boundaries – that’s gross, never do that. But find out what we are okay with and what we like, and try to do it as often as appropriate.
Me, I’m a big fan of hugs and cuddling (which is basically a long hug that I get to lay down for!). Some folks really like kissing. Others are only into frequent high fives! But as long as you’re cool with whatever your enby likes, give us that contact!
(“Enby” is a cutesy pet name for nonbinary, by the way. It’s a phonetic spelling of the letters NB, which is sometimes used as a shorthand for nonbinary. Not all nonbinary people are okay with being called an enby, so make sure you ask before using it for someone!)
And really what this all leads to is…
What nonbinary people really want for Valentine’s Day (and every day) is to be loved and respected for who we are, and to have the people around us accept us and accept our genders.
There’s a lot of different genders and ways of being that fall under the “nonbinary” umbrella, but we’re all people and we all just want to belong and have respect and compassion shown to us. Hopefully these tips can help you with that goal!
Fellow nonbinary folks, what do you think?
Is there anything in particular you want for Valentine’s Day? What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments or join us on Twitter with the hashtag #enbyvalentine!