Chey Follett identifies as non-binary and two-spirit. Two-spirit means that one person’s body holds both male and female identities, a concept that has long been held by some Native American communities. While many people know from a very young age that they are either male or female, that is not true for everyone. Some people, like Chey, know they don’t fit into either male or female exclusively and use a term like non-binary or two-spirit to describe their gender. For pronouns, Chey uses masculine (he/him) pronouns and the singular ‘they’ (they/them) interchangeably. Chey understands that non-binary people are often confronted with discrimination because of who they are: For example, he points to an instance at his former workplace in Dallas when superiors scrutinized his choice of attire: he wanted to opt for the ‘male’ uniform with a dress tie, as it most closely aligned with his sense of self.
Chey hopes a greater awareness of trans- and non-binary gender identities will create workplaces where everyone can feel comfortable. But they also encourage trans people to draw from confidence within and embrace their true identity to change the narrative and set a positive example for others. They said, “We have to tell [transgender and non-binary people], ‘No, wait. You can be successful. You have to create that for yourself. You need to show [cisgender, or non-transgender, people] that you’re equally successful, smart, and capable as they are.’”