Non-binary

When we use the word transgender, we are referring to an inclusive umbrella term that consists of binary trans people (trans men and trans women), as well as non-binary people and people who cross dress.

Non-binary people feel their gender identity cannot be defined within the margins of gender binary. Instead, they understand their gender in a way that goes beyond simply identifying as either a man or woman.

trans umbrella

Non-binary can be defined as:

Identifying as either having a gender which is in-between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman, as fluctuating between ‘man’ and woman’, or as having no gender, either permanently or some of the time.[1]

As explained in this definition there are many ways that non-binary can be understood as the category is incredibly diverse. The definitions are as diverse as the community, which has meant that non-binary has become an umbrella term as well as being an identity category in its own right. Terms like genderqueer, genderf*ck, neutrosis, agender, gender fluid, bigender and third gender are just some of the labels that people within the non-binary community use to describe their gender identity.

Non-binary identities can be fixed or fluid and this can often cause confusion to people understanding non-binary as an identity, as the default assumption is often that an individual’s gender identity adheres to one fixed category. Common misconceptions are usually due to generalising all non-binary people under one simplistic and reductive definition, which is neither helpful nor accurate.

Asking non-binary people how they identify as well as what language they use to describe themselves is almost always best if there is any confusion. However, how one non-binary person identifies is not indicative of all non-binary people, and the language one person uses may not be representative or appropriate for another.

A conflation with non-binary and people who are intersex is also common, and whilst intersex people can identify as non-binary, it is not synonymous. The research on the intersex community has helped the non-binary community to articulate that the strict gender binary is not intrinsic to our society. Intersex people highlight the diversity that exists within the biological implications of what constitutes our societies understanding of gender.



[1] Scottish Trans Alliance, Including Non-binary People: Guidance for Service Providers and Employers [last accessed 24/08/2017]

Resources

www.scottishtrans.org/non-binary - an organisation that works towards influencing government policy, informing trans people and promoting positive visibility.

www.genderedintelligence.co.uk – a non-profit community interest company that seeks to increase understandings of gender diversity.

www.nonbinary.co.uk – A UK group focused on raising awareness of non-binary issues to services.

www.beyondthebinary.co.uk – A UK-focused magazine aimed at non-binary people. Regularly accepts submitted content.

www.neutrosis.com – A site that includes terms as well as definitions for social and legal transition related issues for non-binary individuals.

www.genderqueerid.com – A platform that seeks to provide awareness, information and resources for those whose gender identity exists outside of the binary.

www.practicalandrogyny.com – a site which posts research and legislation and news surrounding non-binary identities.

http://genderqueeries.tumblr.com/titles - A list of gender-neutral titles for family and relations.

http://askanonbinary.tumblr.com/pronouns - A list of various pronouns that non-binary people may use.

http://nonbinaryresource.tumblr.com/post/100702852621/nonbinary-resources - A diverse list of resources aimed at educating on non-binary issues.