Park’s read “they, their and theirs”— not “he, him and his.” Last week, I watched Park in a queer theater performance.

They were sporting a glossy coat of blue lipstick that perfectly matched the nail polish on their fingers.

dating genderqueer-10

“These terms are new to many people outside of LGBTQ communities,” said Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Beemyn also told me that the “tremendous ignorance” about gender identity creates a space for “scare tactics and lies,” resulting in acts of violence and a plethora of anti-trans legislation, such as the bathroom laws in Houston, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Many genderqueer individuals see gender and sex as separable aspects of a person and sometimes identify as a male woman, a female man, or a male/female/intersex genderqueer.

Genderqueer identification may also occur for political reasons.

In fact, these terms are fairly new and often puzzling to me, too.

It’s only in the past three or four years that I’ve come to know a number of people who identify as non-binary, which means that they don’t identify as either male or female. So this has been a journey for me, too, to see the gray space and to understand that not all things are “this” or “that.” “The best way to understand someone is to know them,” Beemyn told me.

School registration and insurance forms, driver’s license and college applications, even (especially) dating sites — all binary. I asked Park what they wanted people to take away from our talk. “That’s it’s okay for things not to be on the binary.” They added: “There needs to be general awareness and education about all these issues.

Even in high schools, we’re talking about sex but not about gender identity. Join Petrow for a live online chat at on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

(Munir uses gender-neutral pronouns, as do the others quoted in this column.) The audience applauded Munir for self-identifying as non-binary (sometimes referred to as genderqueer or gender-nonconforming).