Gender is a complex and multifaceted aspect of our identities. For a long time, the cultural norm has been to classify people as male or female. This is known as “the gender binary”. However, this binary understanding of gender is not inclusive of the full range of gender diversity and identity that exists today. So, what is non-binary? Non-binary or genderqueer is an umbrella term used to describe individuals who do not identify within the binary of male and female. Additionally, non-binary is sometimes referred to as “enby” (as in N for non and B for binary).
Now, before you throw up your hands and scream, “but there are only two genders!” it’s worth taking a moment to ponder the thought that maybe, just maybe, it’s not quite as clear cut as that. For starters, intersex people exist. Moreover, whilst I do not speak for all lesbians, I’m certainly not as classically “feminine” as my straight girlfriends. Over the years, it’s something that’s always been apparent to me, my mind drifting off when the conversations inevitably turn to shoes, bags, dresses, eyebrow plucking and Botox. So personally, I think it’s obvious that gender is a spectrum. Besides, I haven’t worn a dress for 30 years! 🙃
So what is Non-Binary or Genderqueer?
Non-binary or genderqueer is an umbrella term used to describe individuals who do not identify within the binary of male and female. Non-binary individuals may identify as both male and female, neither male nor female, or as a gender that is entirely separate from the binary of male and female. Genderqueer is a similar term used to describe individuals who reject the gender binary.
Misconception #1: Non-binary or genderqueer is a new trend or fashion statement.
Reality: Non-binary or genderqueer identities have existed in different cultures and throughout history. The visibility and acceptance of non-binary identities has increased in recent years, but it is not a trend or fashion statement.
Misconception #2: Non-binary or genderqueer individuals are confused or attention-seeking. Reality: Non-binary or genderqueer individuals have a valid and authentic gender identity. Their identity is not a phase, a choice, or a form of attention-seeking. Simply, it’s just how they see themselves.
Misconception #3: Non-binary or genderqueer individuals are not valid or real.
Reality: Non-binary or genderqueer individuals have a valid and real gender identity that is just as important and legitimate as binary genders.
Famous people who identify as non-binary or genderqueer
Non-binary or genderqueer identities are becoming more visible and accepted in today’s society. Here are some famous people who identify as non-binary or genderqueer:
- Sam Smith: The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter came out as non-binary in 2019 and uses they/them pronouns.
- Alok Vaid-Menon: The writer, performer, and activist identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. They are a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Ruby Rose: The actress and model, known for her roles in “Orange Is the New Black” and “Batwoman,” identifies as genderfluid and uses she/they pronouns.
- Asia Kate Dillon: The actor, known for their roles in “Orange Is the New Black” and “Billions,” identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
- Jonathan Van Ness: The hairstylist and star of “Queer Eye” identifies as non-binary and has referred to themselves as “non-gender conforming.”
- Indya Moore: The actor, known for their role in “Pose,” identifies as nonbinary. They have also spoken openly about their experiences as a non-binary person of color.
- Jacob Tobia: The writer, performer, and activist identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They are a prominent voice in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Shiva Raichandani: The drag performer and activist, also known as Shiva Gran Daddy, identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They are a prominent figure in the New York City drag scene.
These are just a few examples of the many non-binary and genderqueer individuals who are making their mark in the entertainment industry and beyond. Thankfully, their visibility and openness about their identities are helping to pave the way for greater acceptance and understanding of gender diversity.
How to Support Non-Binary or Genderqueer Individuals
- Use their correct pronouns: Non-binary or genderqueer individuals may use pronouns that are different from he/him/his or she/her/hers. Additionally, always ask for their preferred pronouns and use them correctly.
- Use inclusive language: Avoid gendered language when addressing or referring to non-binary or genderqueer individuals. Use gender-neutral terms like “they/them/theirs” instead of “he/she” or “Mr./Ms.”
- Educate yourself: Read up on non-binary or genderqueer identities, attend workshops, or reach out to non-binary or genderqueer individuals to learn more about their experiences.
- Speak up against discrimination: If you witness discrimination or microaggressions towards non-binary or genderqueer individuals, speak up and challenge it.
Q. Can non-binary or genderqueer individuals undergo hormone therapy or surgery? A. Yes, non-binary or genderqueer individuals can undergo hormone therapy or surgery if they choose to. The medical process may differ from binary transgender individuals, but it is a personal decision.
Q. Are non-binary or genderqueer individuals part of the LGBTQ+ community?
A. Yes, non-binary or genderqueer individuals are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The community includes individuals who identify outside of binary genders, sexual orientations, and romantic orientations.
Q. Can non-binary or genderqueer individuals use public restrooms?
A. Yes, of course non-binary or genderqueer individuals can use public restrooms. They’ll usually go to the one that aligns with their gender identity. However, due to discriminatory laws and transphobia, they may feel uncomfortable or unsafe in public restrooms.
Q. How can I be a good ally to non-binary or genderqueer people?
A. Being a good ally means actively supporting and advocating for non-binary or genderqueer individuals. This can include using their correct pronouns, educating yourself, speaking up against discrimination, and actively challenging gender norms and stereotypes.
Non-binary or genderqueer identities are an important part of gender diversity and identity. Understanding and supporting non-binary or genderqueer individuals is crucial in creating a more inclusive and accepting society. By using inclusive language, educating ourselves, and being good allies, we can support and celebrate the diversity of gender identities. Let’s strive towards a world where everyone can live authentically and without fear of discrimination.