What Does The Term “Nonbinary” Really Mean?

by Rory Gory
many people are raised to believe that gender and sex are the same thing, and that there are two options available to us : male or female. But neither sex nor sex is inherently binary —the impression that people must be classified into one of these two categories .
When something can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be placed in two boxes, we call it nonbinary, meaning “ not consisting of, indicating, or involving two. ” And when it specifically comes to gender, nonbinary is a bible that helps give voice to a divers range of sex identities .
July 14th is International Nonbinary People ’ mho Day, an affair to celebrate the diversity of the many gender identities that exist beyond the binary. Whereas Transgender Day of Visibility or Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the transgender and nonbinary community as a solid, International Nonbinary People ’ sulfur Day raises awareness for people with gender identities that aren ’ t necessarily male or female.

On International Nonbinary People ’ randomness Day, let ’ s explore why it ’ south significant to have words for nonbinary sex identities .
discover more about the background and aim of International Non-Binary People ’ s Day here .

What does nonbinary mean?

Nonbinary people have a sex identity that does not fit into the male/female binary. They are much included under the umbrella term of transgender, a community that refers to people whose sex identity does not correspond with their sexual activity assigned at give birth. While transgender and nonbinary people are often discussed as a group, there are many discrete genders within this group .
Nor are nonbinary people a massive group. Like transgender, nonbinary is besides used as a general term, but there are many ways to identify outside the binary. There are those whose sex identity :

  • isn’t fixed, such as gender-fluid people;
  • experience a variety of masculine, feminine, or androgynous identities, such as pangender people;
  • do not identify with any gender, such as agender people;
  • and more.

Do nonbinary people really exist?

absolutely ! As our club begins to see sex beyond a two-label system, an increasing total of young people are now identifying as nonbinary. One in four LGBTQ youth surveyed in The Trevor Project ’ s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health identified outside of the gender binary, and youth surveyed used over 100 different words to describe their gender identity !
young people are expanding language to describe and communicate the nuances of sex in exciting newly ways, but many people are even trying to keep up with the newly words that transgender and nonbinary people are using, and some people may wonder why we need sol many labels .
While it may take a bit of time to learn them, these words aren ’ metric ton frivolous. According to new research by The Trevor Project released during Pride calendar month 2020, distinct differences in mental health outcomes exist among members of the transgender and nonbinary population. Language to describe sex international relations and security network ’ metric ton just about describing how you relate to your identity. Labels besides allow researchers to study specific identities and their outcomes, informing the policies and programs we create to support the transgender and nonbinary community .

Is nonbinary the same as transgender?

The short answer : it ’ mho complicated. Because many of us are raised to believe the default option, prescriptive identity for a person is binary ( male or female ) and cisgender ( having a gender identity that corresponds with one ’ s biological sex assigned at birth ), it ’ sulfur very easy and tempting for binary cisgender people to lump people who are not binary cisgender together .
generally speaking, no matter what sex a person is assigned at parentage, they can be :

  • a boy or a man. In most cases, we would define their gender identity as binary.
  • a girl or a woman. In most cases, we would define their gender identity as binary.
  • a nonbinary child or a person. In most cases, we would define their gender identity as nonbinary.
  • Remember: transgender refers to people whose gender identity does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

Some transgender people identify as nonbinary. Some nonbinary people identify as transgender. While transgender and nonbinary people as a group have much in coarse, there are besides differences in live feel and genial health outcomes between trans men, trans women, and nonbinary people .
Some people identify with a binary gender:
For example, a binary transgender man identifies simply as a man, and a binary transgender woman identifies as a charwoman. Trans men and women should never be forced to disclose their identity or personal medical history to satisfy the curio of cisgender people .
Some people identify with a nonbinary gender:
A nonbinary person identifies with a sex outside of “ the male-female gender binary star ” —such as an agender person, whose identity is gender-neutral rather than specifically male or female .
Gender identity, or one ’ s inner understand of one ’ sulfur gender, is different from gender presentation, or how one ’ randomness sex is perceived and interpreted in the populace. We shouldn ’ triiodothyronine assume what a person ’ s sex identity is based on whether they are presenting in a means that is interpreted as masculine or feminine ( such as through invest ), or is perceived to be a particular gender due to secondary coil arouse characteristics. There is no right way to be nonbinary, or to express it .
Binary and nonbinary people may need different social support:
binary people may prefer gendered linguistic process when referring to themselves, whereas nonbinary people may prefer gender-neutral language to be adopted thus that identities outside the binary star can be recognized and acknowledged, excessively. For example, a trans woman may prefer the term beget over parent, whereas a nonbinary parent might prefer the condition rear over mother or father.

Why we need to support nonbinary people

When we talk generally about transgender and nonbinary people, we need to first make two things clear :

  1. We are talking about gender identity, which is our internal understanding and experience of our own gender, and not sex, which is one’s designation at birth as male, female, or intersex. While often confused, gender and sex are different.
  2. We are not talking about sexual or romantic orientation. Cisgender, transgender, and nonbinary people also have a sexual orientation, which includes the asexual spectrum. Just because you know someone’s gender does not mean you know their sexual orientation.

Our raw inquiry at The Trevor Project shows that transgender and nonbinary young were 2 to 2.5 times deoxyadenosine monophosphate probable to badly consider and attempt suicide compared to their cisgender peers within the LGBTQ community. transgender and nonbinary young besides reported having been physically threatened or harmed at closely twice the rate of LGBQ ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, or thwart ) youth .
These outcomes are heartbreaking and reveal how much transgender and nonbinary youth need to be protected within our communities. We want to make it abundantly clear : trans rights are human rights ! Nonbinary people do exist and deserve our credence and patronize, besides .

Nonbinary vs. gender non-conforming vs. gender-variant

Nonbinary is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all people whose gender international relations and security network ’ t strictly male or female, but it ’ s not the only label that people outside the binary identify with. Researchers historically used the term gender non-conforming ( GNC ) to refer to this group, but this was not deoxyadenosine monophosphate frequently used by people within the residential district to describe their sex. It fell out of popularity as it implied sex is something one must “ conform ” to. umbrella terms such as gender-variant or gender-diverse people are besides used, but over clock, nonbinary has become the more common term .

The many and diverse words for nonbinary identities

equitable because the term nonbinary is normally applied to a group of people does not mean that everyone who may be classified outside the binary inevitably identifies with or prefers the term nonbinary. There are other identities that aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate rigorously binary that use different words or labels to more intelligibly express the nuances of that particular sex. even though they are frequently included under the umbrella of nonbinary genders, these words to describe identity are not necessarily exchangeable or synonymous. Before labeling a person as nonbinary, it ’ sulfur important to make certain that you know how that person identifies their gender before assuming which parole they prefer to use to describe themselves .

  • Agender (a– meaning “not, without”) or neutrois (taken as a blend of the French words for neuter and three) people do not identify with any gender; while their internal orientation is gender-neutral, they may physically present in a variety of ways or use varying pronouns.
  • Xenogender (based on xeno-, meaning “foreign, guest, strange”) is sometimes used as an umbrella term for an entire category of nonbinary genders that are defined by characteristics with no relation whatsoever to “female” or “male.”

other gender identities may fluctuate between or identify their gender in masculine, feminine, or androgynous ways, without a fix identity as a “ world ” or “ woman. ”

  • Genderqueer, genderfluid, or genderflux people experience a fluid or fluctuating (hence –fluid and –flux) gender among a variety of identities and expressions.
  • Pangender (pan– meaning “all) people have a gender identity that encompasses the entirety of the gender spectrum.
  • Bigender (bi–, “two”), demigender (demi–, “half”), or intergender (inter-, “between”) people may lean more towards one gender identity than another, such as a demigirl.

It ’ s besides important to note that culture plays a character in how we identify gender. For case, indian hijra and Samoan fa ’ afafine cultures recognize a “ third gender. ” The term two-spirit is besides used by some modern Indigenous North Americans to describe native people in their communities whose sexual, sex, or spiritual identity is not binary or heterosexual .
Take a closer look at the evolving language of sex identity and formula .

Nonbinary identities and the law

In some places in the United States, there is immediately legal recognition of genders besides male and female, such as introducing the letter X as a nonbinary or other gender marker on identification documents. For exercise, as of 2019 in the state of Oregon, any person can select X on their driver ’ mho license or identification wag without any requirements of proof of gender .
hermaphrodite people have besides fought legal battles to have their correct genders recognized on birth certificates, such as nonbinary hermaphrodite writer and activist Hida Viloria, who was able to change her parentage certificate to “ hermaphrodite ” in New York in 2017. Intersex babies are born with any of respective variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sexual activity hormones, or genitals that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies. arouse does not define gender, and hermaphrodite people may grow up to identify as male, female, nonbinary, or another gender identity .

How language matters for the nonbinary community

Based on the most recent findings from The Trevor Project, we can see that, while transgender and nonbinary people as a whole have higher rates of suicidality than their cisgender peers, there are differences between transgender and nonbinary people. language for nonbinary identities allows us to observe where the nonbinary community may need extra support or attention, ampere well as to notice differences in outcomes depending on challenges relating to sex assignment at give birth .
When describing a nonbinary identity, arouse assigned at birth is sometimes used as a shorthand to describe one ’ randomness identity, for example, if you were assigned female at birth ( abbreviated as AFAB nonbinary ) or if you were assigned male at birth ( AMAB nonbinary ). Since sex is not binary star either, ideally future studies will besides look at people assigned hermaphrodite at birth. sex assignment should never be used to define a person ’ randomness sex, but it can provide researchers with information about differences in live experiences based on perceived gender or healthcare challenges associated with one ’ randomness body or anatomy .
When we look at the results for symptoms of depression, we can see that cisgender LGBQ ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, or gay ) women and transgender women have similar outcomes—but disparities exist among trans men and AFAB nonbinary people .
however, it ’ south crucial to remember that there are a variety of struggles within the transgender and nonbinary community. We can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate merely say one gender identity has it worst across all outcomes, because the struggles of each sex identity measured here is different, intersectional, and complex. speech allows us to gather data to help understand these complexities .
For exercise, while AFAB nonbinary people and trans men outpace other groups for symptoms of depression, AFAB nonbinary people have slightly lower rates of suicide attempts than transgender women, while transgender men show an even more significant need for documentation .
Data allows us to recognize our commonalities and our differences. By grounding our reason of sex in research, preferably than anecdotic attest or stereotypes, we can work together to support the transgender and nonbinary people who are most vulnerable within our residential district.

How can we better understand and support the nonbinary community?

We all deserve lyric to self-define our sex and to communicate our gender to each other. Allies can show their support by educating themselves on sex identity, and adopting an attitude of curio quite than frustration or disfavor. Within the transgender community, we can support nonbinary people by appreciating our residential district ’ randomness diverseness, and refraining from assuming that we all partake the same experiences with gender .
And we can all support the nonbinary community by celebrating the development of lyric to describe gender beyond the binary star, particularly on International Nonbinary People ’ south Day. Gender is frequently an ongoing travel of self-discovery, and as a community, we ’ re inactive writing the narrative—including the language we use to tell the report .
Rory Gory ( pronoun flexible ) is the Digital Marketing Manager for The Trevor Project, the worldly concern ’ sulfur largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. They are responsible for engaging The Trevor Project ’ s sociable media hearing of over a million followers. Rory ’ s guidelines for messaging on the subjects of suicide, mental health, and identity have been used by Facebook, Capitol Records, and Netflix and their bylines include Teen Vogue, them., USA Today, and Dictionary.com .

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