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Robertson, Nyk
The Power and Subjection of Liminality and Borderlands of Non-Binary Folx
In: Gender Forum
Issue 69 (2018): 45-59, - 14 S.
ISSN 1613-1878



Borderlands / Anzaldúa / Grenzüberschreitung / Transgender

This essay explores Victor Turner's liminal spaces and Gloria Anzaldúa's borderlands and how these spaces contain components of power that include the potentiality of liminal space, the access to knowledge and knowing, freedom from social constructs, and multiple subjectivities. By existing in an unintelligible state, folx who hold non-binary gender identities function within liminal spaces. Components found in liminal spaces and borderlands allow non-binary folx to possess a power that is not accessible to those confined within the structured gender binary. For this essay, I will utilize the term non-binary to refer to people who place themselves, or are forcibly placed, outside of the gender binary. I am using non-binary folx because I view this as an umbrella term that includes all of the above-mentioned labels, as non-binary implies functioning outside of the gender binary. Moreover, folx incorporates the x that is being widely used to bring in more identities to conversations, such as womxn, latinx, and alumx to name a few. While investigating the power that exists within liminal spaces and borderlands, the struggles that non-binary folx face are also explored. A search for home, an inability to enter into defined spaces, and lack of access to systems are some of the complexities that exist within these liminal spaces. These borderlands are sites of potential invisibility, misrecognition, and unintelligibility that restrict access to institutions as well as rights that are structured by the gender binary system. It is imperative that an investigation of these properties of liminal states and borderlands be done to create access to these institutions without negating the lived experiences of non-binary folx by forcing their classification within the gender binary.

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