The Space In Between by Alexia Riner
Based on a conversation with McKenna O’Dougherty, of Ashland, OR.
McKenna O’Dougherty is a non-binary, queer educator with a love for stand-up comedy, plants and poetry. McKenna is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where they studied the application of queer theory to sexual violence prevention strategies. They recently moved to LA to pursue their passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy and equity education.
For McKenna, non-binary is a term of ambiguity – for them it was a long journey to get to the point of acknowledging that they don’t feel only like a woman and that they don’t want to be a man. The “non” in “non-binary” doesn’t tell us what something is, but rather what it is not. They relate being non-binary to being like the space in between the stars, emphasizing the liberation that comes with having the space to explore one’s gender. Initially, McKenna was terrified to acknowledge their non-binary identity because they felt like navigating their queerness was complicated enough, but they felt it was important to come out in order to create awareness and visibility of gender fluidity.
McKenna’s story is represented as a part of Perimeter because their personal journey of finding their own gender identity is helping to dissolve a societal border that people must identify as one of two genders.