Non-Binary? Yeah. 

“Kia ora! As most of you know I am Shawn and I sit across the Human Centered Design and equity teams… and *unexpected need for a deep breath* I am non-binary”

Oh god, I have never said that out loud before… 

I scramble together the rest of my sentences and move on with the objective of my day. 

Why does this feel like I have to come out again? Do I make a deal out of it? But I am not like other non-binary folks, I only feel feminine some days, and other days I want to dress like a finance bro.

FYI dear readers, this little brown boy memoir is a recent happening, as in like last week. September 2022. 

I have had more defined waves of this mindset ever since I moved out of home. Removing myself from the cushions of home and into a new city unveiled a heavy shroud I was unconsciously wearing as a barrier to really seeing into myself. Coming out was hard enough, and I was just not emotionally prepared to discover anything more about myself. 

Countless nights I spent thinking, “Why can’t I fit in this world so comfortably like my brother can? Is this world not built for me?”

The confronting but sad reality is that this capitalist society we participate in is not built for those who identify as LGBTQI+ and/or gender-diverse, and there is an even deeper sense of displacement for my fellow BIPOCs who identify as blossoming members of the rainbow community. 

I need to practice what I am preaching here but it is important that we immerse ourselves in places where we as beautiful beings of the LGBTQI+ and gender diverse folk can thrive into an authentic beings just like those who live a hetero-normative white life. 

I have this internal battle now where I am questioning this new discovery about myself – “Am I doing this to be trendy? Are my oppression points at its current state, not enough?”. I haven’t reached a point of solace in this internal conflict yet but I am trying to find solace in the idea that this is a new road on my journey to reaching my most authentic potential. I am rather fresh on this new journey of defining myself against the binary, so I am still in search for….I really don’t know what I am searching for, but I will keep looking. 


7 months ago when I moved out of home I would have never considered wearing velvet-heeled boots, rocking long acrylic nails, and droopy earrings that match my shirt. It’s these little fragments of societal rebellion that have got me thinking a little broader out of the box I was forced into, empowering my beautiful brown soul through it. 

This box is still very tight but I am unapologetically making dents to set myself free. – (bigger text)

I know it is easier said than done but the first step (that helped and still continues to be my cornerstone) is to be meticulous in who your friends are. These friends should be your own little safe haven family. And the rest of it will file in naturally. 

I have set up myself for guaranteed personal growth by surrounding myself with the best of brown excellence and allies.

My mind is always riotous, always scheming, and always debating with its two halves. Before the more masculine thought process took over and I would swiftly dismiss any ‘other’ thoughts that did not align with the hetero and gender normative realms I grew up in. It was somewhat like a good angel and a bad angel on my shoulders. 

They’re both good angels now. Both sides equally contribute to my whole being. 

Hey, I am still getting to know them and will keep ya’ll updated. 

Published by Shawn Wimalaratne


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