What does it mean to be non-binary?
When people talk about gender identities, they mostly refer to either male or female, suggesting that those are the only two genders that one can identify with, this is not true. Gender is a spectrum, and there are individuals who identify as gender non-binary. Here’s more.
What is gender non-binary?
Identifying as non-binary means that they don’t identify strictly as female or male. You can choose to identify with both genders or neither. Some people classify as gender fluid (not having a fixed gender), others agender (without gender), third gender, or anything else that they personally identify as. Transgender people can be non-binary too.
Since non-binary people don’t strictly identify with being either male or female, they may also not want to use traditional gendered pronouns (he/she) and may prefer to be called ‘they’. It’s important to ask people what their pronouns are, so that you can refer to them by what they identify as.
Types of non-binary genders
While gender non-binary is a gender identity, it is also an umbrella term used to describe those who don’t identify with either male or female. There are different types of non-binary gender identities that you need to be aware of.
Agender: Being agender means that you’re not gender specific and don’t identify with either male or female or are gender neutral. It’s also referred to as gender neutral, or genderless.
Bigender: This means that you identify with two different gender identities.
Gender fluid: When you’re gender fluid, you move between two or more gender identities or expressions.
Genderqueer: This is a spectrum of gender identities that don’t fit in to traditional heterosexual, homosexual, masculine or feminine roles.
Third gender: If you don’t identify as binary (strictly male or female) you can be referred to as third gender, third sex, or other gender.
Gender is not something that’s fixed, and there aren’t just two genders – people are allowed to choose where they fall on the gender spectrum and they are free to change at any point. You have the right to assert (communicate) your gender pronouns and identity and those around you should respect that.
If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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