With the growing awareness of the many nuances of gender and sexuality, more and more people are coming who identify as “non-binary gender”. If this is a completely new concept for you – don’t worry! We’re here to answer some of the most common questions in terms of sexual fluidity. You may have wondered if you might not be binary – welcome! Regardless of where you are in your understanding of gender, be sure to use this as a guide to shed some light on this somewhat elusive topic.
It’s not a third gender
A common misconception people have about gender is that non-binary is a “third gender”. Let’s clear this up now – it’s not like that.
The identity of someone who is not binary is an identity that is formed outside of the social constructs of a strict “gender-specific binary number”. Mean one or the other. Male or female. Girl or boy. Man or woman. For so many, this feels rigid, limiting, and downright oppressive.
Before diving into the world of non-binary, it is important to have a basic understanding of these terms.
Cis sex, is when someone’s gender identity matches that assigned at birth. Example: “I was born a woman and identify myself as a woman”.
Trans: Trans is someone whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. Some transsexuals’ journey includes hormone replacement therapy and / or surgery, but it certainly doesn’t have to.
Many transsexuals also identify as non-binary or vice versa. In roughly the same mood, each trans person’s journey is very individual and they may or may not want to adhere to societal standards of what it means to be a man or a woman.
To each his own
Someone who is not binary can feel an equal balance between male and female energies. Or they feel neither “a-gender”. You may feel these energies all at once or not at all, or a constant change in them that fluctuates similarly to the earth’s seasons. There is no way to be non-binary, and each person’s journey is very unique to them.
You may have heard other terms, such as B. Non-gender, gender-specific and gender-specific terms. All of this involves the same idea of gender identity that is outside the normal structure of what it means to be male or female.
Genitals are not created equal
What someone has between their legs or on their chest does not define their gender identity. However, some non-binary people can have it sex-affirming surgery (up or down) or further Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a means of feeling what is outside reflects how you feel inside.
A common social belief is that someone who undergoes one or more of these treatments wants to be validated by society as a gender opposite to the gender assigned at birth. This isn’t always the case, some non-binary people use these treatments to get rid of gender-specific binary representation.
It is nothing new
Although non-binary representation on social media has increased in recent years, this concept is far from new.
People around the world, like the ancient Celts, and indigenous people around the world have not only accepted but revered non-binary people for generations. Indians have people who “Two ghosts“Who fill very specific roles in their communities.
For the most part, non-binary people in these communities served as a bridge between the mind and the physical realm, between man and woman, and more. This is thanks to their ability to live in a borderline state between and outside of the norm.
Gender and sexuality
Gender and sexuality are not the same. While there is overlap and the two topics go hand in hand, you cannot accept a person’s sexuality based on their gender, and vice versa.
Non-binary people often identify as “queer”, “pansexual” or “bisexual”. Since they are not a cis person, they would not be considered straight. Heterosexual means “attracted to the opposite sex”. Guess what? There is no opposite of non-binary where queer comes into play.
Non-binary people can also be a-sexual, demisexual, identify as lesbian or gay, or any other language that resonates with them.
Many non-binary people choose to use it pronoun outside of him / her and him / her.
Some common ones are …
- You / she / your
- Ze / Hir
- Co / Cos
- Vehicle / View / Xyr
- Hy / Hym / Hys
For some non-binary folx, they use their name in leiu of pronouns. Much like their pronouns, people often change their names to confirm their gender. If they use this new name strictly, the name they were given at birth is called the “dead name”. It is incredibly disrespectful to use this name without their permission.
While a person’s pronouns don’t define them, they are an important tool for navigating a world that is filtered through a binary lens.
If you’re not sure about a person’s pronouns, just ask them!
It may seem awkward at first, but trust that practice will make it easier and know that you are a considerate person who will respect the person in front of you. This is very much appreciated!
A small hint; There is a misconception that when you ask about a person’s pronouns, you are using the term “preferred pronouns”. This is wrong. These pronouns are not preferred, they just are. Instead, just say, “What are your pronouns?”
The future is gender neutral
Remember that a person’s appearance is not an indication of their gender identity. Part of the pursuit of a more inclusive future is to use gender neutrality as the standard. Imagine interacting with people without adopting their gender identity. That is inclusivity and that is the future.
Regardless of how your gender identity forms over time, one thing stays the same – it reflects the ever-increasing ways in which you can become more and more true to yourself. Engaging in gender deviations means saying yes to great experiences, what it means to be human – and what is possible in it.
Remember, the future is fluid.
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at the age of fourteen when she was present at the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birthing doula gave her insights into the magical realm of childbirth, pregnancy and everything in between. Your role as an obstetrician is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as an important educational tool to bring about changes in our view of reproductive health as a whole.