Jonathan Lund came out as non-binary a year and a half ago. It was a development they described as “very sudden,” though it was the culmination of a long period of self-discovery. We sat down with them to learn more about the experience and the challenges individuals face when they identify as non-binary.
Jonathan is a Programme Manager in Customer Service at Amazon and an active member of Glamazon – Amazon’s LGBTQ+ employee network. As well as being a non-binary advocate, Jonathan uses their hobbies outside of work to embrace the different sides of their identity, which range from being a motorbike fanatic to a talented silver jewellery maker.
There are so many people who have never encountered a non-binary person. I'm more than happy to step up and do the educating. Glamazon gives me the platform to do this.
Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ rights charity in the UK, defines non-binary as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
“When it comes to being non-binary, I think it’s important to be as open and honest as possible. It helps build understanding among people – and me affirm to myself – that I have nothing to hide. As soon as I figured out I was non-binary, I let my closest friends know immediately and was met with overwhelming support.”
Despite this, Jonathan hadn’t realised how ideas around masculinity had become so ingrained in their own mind. Previously male-identifying – and a passionate petrolhead, a typically male-dominated hobby – they had to re-evaluate their own relationship with masculinity.
“When I came out, it felt right. Some time passed though, then it played on my mind that I’m not a man anymore, which felt like a weakness or something that people might judge me for.
“Before coming out I was viewed by people as a man, and the idea of masculinity is wrapped up with their perceptions of me. It was something I never thought I would have struggled with until I went through it. Stepping away from that masculine identity was really scary. In the end though, it made me think about what other things are shaping the way I interact with people – and whether those interactions are false too. It’s been a revealing journey.”
Once Jonathan had come out to friends and family, they felt confident enough to identify as non-binary at work, but this wasn’t as straightforward as they had hoped.
“I tried to slowly slip my pronouns into my employee bio and my email signature and hoped everyone would pick up on it. This wasn’t so successful, and I kept being misgendered by colleagues. It bothered me a lot more than I thought it would.
“Eventually, I engaged my manager and explained my situation. He set up a meeting with the wider team and requested everyone’s preferred pronouns. I put mine as they/them and ended up with a lot of supporting emails and responses from colleagues.”
Since then, Jonathan has become a member of Glamazon – Amazon’s employee network for LGBTQ+ employees and a Top 10 LGBT Network in the Global Diversity List. In April, Jonathan was invited to speak as part of a Glamazon UK panel for Trans Day of Visibility to promote non-binary visibility in the workplace.
“I have an independent streak a mile wide. So, looking for support isn’t something I’m very good at. Glamazon have helped me with non-binary visibility, encouraging me to share my story and giving me the space to do so.”
When we spoke to Jonathan, they were already preparing to speak at another Glamazon UK panel, discussing genders outside of the binary.
“There are so many people who have never encountered a non-binary person. I'm more than happy to step up and do the educating. Glamazon gives me the platform to do this.”
In the meantime, Jonathan is continuing with their new self-discovery and ongoing transition, including a long-awaited change to their facial hair.
“I had to grow this massive, horrible beard for three months before I can have it removed with electrolysis, so I’m really looking forward to getting it shaved off at the end of the month!”
Meet more inspiring employees from our Glamazon network, like Adrian, a Brand Specialist at Amazon Grocery, a co-founder of the Manchester chapter of Glamazon