"Tell me more about what it means to be non-binary..."
If this is the first time you are hearing about non-binary gender, you may be confused about the differences between gender, sex assigned at birth, and how all of these things interact.
The image below is an amazing resource to help contextualize all of these nuances prior to getting into any specific gender identity or sexuality. Click on the image to enlarge it.
What Does 'Non-Binary' Mean?
- Have an androgynous (both masculine and feminine) gender identity, such as androgyne.
- Have an identity between male and female, such as intergender.
- Have a neutral or unrecognized gender identity, such as agender, neutrois, or most xenogenders.
- Have multiple gender identities, such as bigender or pangender.
- Have a gender identity which varies over time, known as genderfluid.
- Have a weak or partial connection to a gender identity, known as demigender.
- Are intersex and identify as intersex, know as amalgagender
- Have a culturally specific gender identity which exists only within their or their ancestor's culture.
Non-binary people may wish to transition so that their gender expression more closely reflects their internal identity. Many non-binary people wish to appear androgynous and adopt unisex names, gender-neutral titles such as Mx. and/or gender-neutral pronouns, but others prefer to express themselves in ways which are traditionally seen as masculine or feminine or to mix aspects of the two.
Non-binary people can have any sexual orientation.
I don't get the whole they/them pronouns thing. Can you explain more?
Here's a great article on Teen Vogue about using they/them pronouns. Some of the questions they address in the article:
“You look like a boy/girl. Why use they instead of he/she?”
“You’re only one person! How does that work?”
“I’m fine with non-binary people, but I don’t believe in singular they pronouns. It makes no sense.”
“My non-binary friend is okay with being called he/she, so I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
“I try to use they/them pronouns when people ask, but it’s so hard! I keep messing it up.”
If you're interested in the grammatical use of they/them as a singular pronoun, check out this article about the history of the singular they.
This is all fine, but in the end, there are really only two sexes, biologically - right?
Wrong! At least 1/100 people in Canada and the US are intersex - read more on what that means here.
These myths about non-binary people come up often in my conversations on the subject.
This article on Everyday Feminism addresses ten myths about non-binary people. There are links to other resources and ideas for how to be a good ally to us. You should check it out!
Myth #1: You Are Trying to Be ‘Special Snowflakes’ (Or ‘This Is Just a Fad’)
Myth #2: You’re Just Confused
Myth #3: You Are a New Concept
Myth #4: You All Fit on a Spectrum, from ‘Masculine’ to ‘Feminine’
Myth #5: You’re Genderqueer? That’s So Political!
Myth #6: You Want to Destroy Gender
Myth #7: Your Pronouns Are Ridiculous
Myth #8: You Don’t Medically Transition
Myth #9: Non-Binary Equals Intersex
Myth #10: You Don’t Experience Trans Oppression
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