Binary Finery: Non-binary and other ways of being
Written by Mike Mainwairing, Training Officer, Children in Wales
So what is non-binary?
Society in the West has set up two genders: Male and Female and in that order. This doesn’t describe how some people actually feel. Some people feel 100% female or 100% male. Some people don’t feel they can identify with either and feel something different. Some people choose to identify as non-binary, not identifying with either gender. Non-binary – an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is neither man nor woman; can also be used as an individual gender identity for someone who is neither a woman nor a man, but does not identify further. Other people best describe how they feel about their gender as:
Agender – having no gender or being genderless
Androgyne – identifying somewhere in between man and woman
Bigender – having two gender identities, either at the same time or interchangeably
Demiboy – partially, but not completely, identifying as a man, boy, or masculine person
Demigender – having partial connection with one gender (male, female, or other)
Demigirl – partially, but not completely, identifying as a woman, girl, or feminine person
Enby – a slang term to refer to a non-binary person, not all non-binary people identify with this term
Gender Apathetic - Similar to Agender, however the person really doesn't identify nor care about any particular gender or pronouns. They may use the pronouns given to them or accept any/all pronouns.
Genderfluid – moving between two or more gender identities at different times, in different circumstances, etc.
Genderqueer – a non-normative or queer gender, having no exclusive connection to any gender
Multigender – having more than one gender
Neutrois – neutral or null gender, similar to agender
Pangender- having many or all genders within one’s culture
Transfeminine or Transfem – a person assigned male at birth (AMAB) who identifies with a feminine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a woman
Transmasculine or Transmasc – a person assigned female at birth (AFAB) who identifies with a masculine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a man
Some people do not want a label to describe themselves at all.
Just take a minute and ask yourself, have I ever thought about my gender? If not, just take a minute and ask yourself how do you feel about your gender?
Most people have never had to think about their gender. I thought it was something young people said to be different, and now I can admit my ignorance and lack of thought when people said they were non-binary. Having watched Ginny Lemon and Bimini Bon Boulash describe how they felt about growing up and identifying as non-binary, I realised how important this was. I was wrong.
Although most people are comfortable with being referred to as her/him, hers/his some people prefer to be referred to as They/Them and other variations. So if in doubt, ask, politely.
Please watch out for Children in Wales training that will explore non-binary identities in the not too distant future.
Teen Vogue, 9-things-people-get-wrong-about-being-non-binary 2021
LGBT Foundation, Trans People, Ono-binary
Ted Talks, Io Tillette Wright, 2012
RuPaul’s Drag race UK, 2021