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.

Useful links:


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