[Bare with me, it has to do with anime/manga in the end.]
When I was little people often asked me “and what is this little boy called” while they ruffled my light brown hair and smiled. I always hissed at them and answered “I’m not a boy, I’m a girl.” But, everytime I got the question I always wondered if it really was true, was I really a girl? I knew I wasn’t a boy, it was very clear to me but, was I a girl? I didn’t really feel that girly like my friends. I didn’t think like them. I didn’t play like them. I didn’t feel at home in their company. I didn’t understand them. I didn’t belong with the boys either though, and I didn’t really talk to them and play with them either. I felt like the odd one out always.
Back then no one knew anything about non-binary genders or transgender or lgbt. All we knew was that fags got aids when they fucked each other and if they looked at you, you would most likely would die on the spot from aids too. Lesbians didn’t exist, only men could be homosexuals. It was filthy and if you were gay you should probably end up in hell. Not that any of the kids in my school were especially christian or anything but still. I can’t remember thinking anything about people having any sexual preferences really. I think my mindset has always been; love whoever you want to love, fuck who ever you want to fuck in whatever way you want to fuck them (yeah, that last part maybe not when I was a kid but once I got aware of the upsides of being an adult).
I have got an awful lot of time to think about things in my lifetime. For good and bad. Also, the discussions have gone high here and I live in a very liberal country and I dare say we are one of the most lgbt friendly countries in the world. That’s good and all but still, shit is happening here too. That’s not where I am going with this. They/them; here we have a pronoun for the singular they/them. It’s fairly new though but still, it exists and is acknowledged and used. I like that. Why? Because I think that I have finally figured out why I never belonged when I was little. I am a singular they/them. (Also, kids like me have something to identify as. I didn’t have that and it only made me confused.)
I ordered Land of the Lustrous vol. 1 the other day (it’s on it’s way as we speak. Yay!) and the characters in that manga/anime are non-binary. That is very important. Very, very important. Because there are kids out there that are like me. Kids who doesn’t know. Who doesn’t feel like they belong anywhere and they can’t understand why. And anime/manga that notices that are much needed. Not everyone identifies as a boy or a girl. And it is important that those who translate manga/anime understands this and stops making their own assumptions and decisions on what gender a character has if it isn’t specified.
Here’s an interesting and important blog post about the subject. Read it, it is very enlightening.
[…] Scanlan’s commentary includes a crucial fact about translation that fans often forget: context is key. A fan who can pick out the odd use of kare (a masculine third-person pronoun) in dialogue, thus declaring that clearly these characters must be male, lacks the grasp of a translator who’s devoted themselves to understanding not just the words of a language but the nuances of speech, implication, and situational meaning. This is not to say that professional translators are flawless, untouchable beings—far from it, as we’ll discuss later—but that there’s complex reasoning behind why certain translations are chosen. […]