Non-Binary Can Cause A Lot Of Confusion To Those Who Don't Understand
A common misconception is that you can look at someone and tell what gender they are. You really can't. It is way more complicated than that for many.
For most people they feel they fall into two categories, a male or a female. That is known as "Gender Binary". The Term "Non-Binary" comes into play when someone feels they don't fall into either identity or can often feel they fall into both.
Non-binary is a term used to identify a person who does not identify within the gender binary (male or female) which is often abbreviated as NB or Enby which is a type of identity of its own.
The Human Rights Campaign defines non binary “an adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories.” The campaign says that while some non-binary people also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people identify that way.
Similarly, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) also clarifies that being non-binary is not the same as being intersex, or being born with anatomy that doesn't fit the typical definitions of male or female. The NCTE says most people born as intersex identify with a specific gender, while those who are non-binary are usually born with specifically male or female anatomy.
Common Ways To Identify
Although Non Binary is recognized as a gender it is really more used as an umbrella term because there are several dynamics under that term that would better describe the person. Therefore it is always advisable to ask "how do you identify"
- Agender: Like the name suggests, agender refers to having no gender identity or identifying as gender neutral.
- Bigender: Those who are bigender identify as having both gender identities of male or female. This can mean they switch from male to female or identify as both simultaneously.
- Gender fluid: The term gender fluid means that an individual moves between gender identities.
- Genderqueer: This term encompasses all people who identify as non-binary.
- Third Gender: Third gender is a term to describe anyone who doesn’t identify with binary options. Hence, a third sex.
If you want to be respectful to those who identify as non-binary it is important to be respectful of the pronouns. For Example if you like being referred to as a woman or Mis/Mrs whould you appreciate someone calling you a man or Sir. Here are some of the pronouns that are used commonly.
- She, her, her, hers, and herself
- He, him, his, his, and himself
- They, them, their, theirs, and themself
- Ze/zie, hir, hir, hirs, and hirself
- Xe, xem, xyr, xyrs, and xemself
- Ve, ver, vis, vis, and verself
- Non-binary gender identity: gender identities that do not fall
exclusively in man/male or woman/female categories. Some
examples include genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, and
bigender. Within non-Western cultures, individuals from groups
such as Two Spirit people, Fa’afafine, or Hijra are sometimes
considered to comprise a ‘third' gender, but may or may not
identify as non-binary or transgender.
- Gender Binary System: system by which society categorizes
gender as falling into one of two categories (man/woman, male/female, masculine/feminine).
- Gender Non-Conformity: describes those who do not conform
with the prescribed social expectations associated with the
gender that matches a person’s sex assigned at birth. This term
is also used to reference cisgender individuals who fit this
description (e.g. butch women).
- Cisgender: gender identity that matches social expectations of
the sex they were assigned at birth (e.g., a person assigned
female at birth, who identifies as a girl/woman).
- Binarism: assumption that gender experience is binary and
devaluation of non-binary experiences of gender.
- Cissexism/cisgenderism/cisnormativity: assumption that
everyone identifies within the gender assigned at birth, and
devaluation of non-cisgender experiences or perspectives in
favor of cisgender ones, via behaviors, actions, attitudes, and
- AFAB/AMAB: assigned female/male at birth. Also DMAB/DFAB
(designated male/female at birth) or FAAB/MAAB (female-/
male- assigned at birth). Terms like “born female” or “natal
male” are less accurate & may be considered microaggressions.
How Can You Help The Non Binary Community
Firstly recognizing non binary as a gender rather than assuming a male or female is a good start. If you follow this with the question "how do you identify" then its much less likely you will offend in any way. It is all about respecting that persons chosen identity.
It is also important to understand that each persons experience of being non-binary is dramatically different so it is always better to ask if you are not clear.
We found this amazing blog for you to check out that gives you "real people's" experiences and examples of what a non-binary might look like and how they like to identify and why, its a great read check it out @ THEM.US
Here is one example :
It was raining hard when I walked into a building in the Chelsea district of Manhattan, and my coat — a women's coat, though I specifically chose one that didn't feel so womanly — was soaked when I peeled it off. As I took that layer off, there was another women’s yet not particularly womanly sweater underneath. I took the elevator to the GLAAD offices where a photo studio was set up for one of their Trans Awareness Week initiatives, the #BeyondtheBinary campaign.
The #BeyondtheBinary campaign was created to make the public more aware of people like me — people who don’t believe in the idea that there are only two genders. I asked myself if my nondescript grey sweater could adequately represent my life as a nonbinary person and decided it couldn’t, so I removed yet another layer to reveal a colorblocked top underneath. I found this top in the women’s section of a store, but knew it was something that a man could wear and get away with. This is a big part of what it’s like to be a nonbinary person: to dig through layers as I negotiate how I present myself to the world so that the world can perceive me the way I perceive myself, even when I’m often forced to use imperfect instruments of clothing that presume only two genders. I hope that these words by and photographs of nonbinary people can keep nudging this world into fully recognizing our existence.
We also wanted to share a list of flags that we found we found on MyGenderlsxwho have put a lot of work into composing this fabulous list so thanks to them.
The Ultimate Guide to Non-Binary Gender Identity Flags
The types of flags used commonly today are a product of what historians call the Age of Revolution. This is when French and American rebels began to use simple, functional, and easily recognizable flags to identify their troops (read more about the history of flags here). So, it seems very apropos that today’s gender revolution is causing a landslide of similarly functional and recognizable flags, typically consisting of simple and replicatable stripes or shapes.
Below are different gender identity flags that are being used by or have been created by the enby community. Some of them may not be used very commonly, while others are very recognizable! For the purposes of this list, we’ve chosen to focus exclusively on non-binary identity flags, no matter how common or uncommon they are. We have not included sexual identity and sexual orientation flags, such as the rainbow pride flag, and we’ve excluded binary gender flags, such as the transgender flag or cis-pride flags.
New gender identification flags are being invented all the time, so if you have a new flag that you think we should include - please let us know!
Viva La Gender Revolution!
The term agender means being without gender. This is often called non-gendered or gendervoid. There may be some crossover with neutrois-identifying people, who feel a gender identity that is neutral.
In the agender flag, both black and white represent the complete absence of gender. Grey represents being semi-genderless, while green represents non-binary gender, because it is the inverse of purple (a combination of both red and blue, which are used commonly for binary gender identification).
Androgynes can be a blend of both or neither of the binary genders. This is often simply described as simply 'in between' as if different than those that identify as both male and female genders. Androgynes may identify as neither feminine or masculine (but typically not as both), or as a third gender. This is different than androgynous, which is a self-expression or appearance that is in between male or female and which may have little-to-no bearing on that person’s gender identity.
The androgyne flag has five stripes, which are maroon, purple, gold, dark grey, and dark blue, in that order.
Someone who is aporagender is neither male, female, or anything in between male or female, while still having a very strong or specific gendered feeling. It can be thought of as a “third gender;” however, the term third gender has roots in indigenous and non-Western cultures, and so is best reserved for use by the groups it belongs to. Aporagender is a great alternative to using the term third gender as it is based in Western language roots, coming from the Greek apo, with apor meaning "separate" combined with the word "gender.”
The aporagender flag has five stripes. One stripe is pink, two are lavender, one is yellow, and one is blue. They are ordered pink, lavender, yellow, lavender, blue.
Bigender people had two distinct gender identities that their either experience simultaneously or each at one time. Typically, a bigender person is referring to both masculine and feminine as there are other terms for genders combining two genders which include non-binary alignments. However, some people may prefer the term bigender, even if one of their two genders is non-binary, other gendered, or not-gendered, as it is easy understood as two genders. The term two spirit is an indigenous term that should be used exclusively by the groups it belongs to.
The bigender flag is has multiple shades of pink and blue, as well as purple and white. It is designed in such a way as to appear like a gradient that goes from pink to blue. This is symbolic of some bigender persons identity fluctuating between a feminine and masculine gender in varying degrees. The various shades of each color represent states which may be mostly masculine or mostly feminine while still combining an element of the other.
A demiboy or demiguy is someone whose gender identity is only partly male but may not comprise of any other genders. They may also define their identity as both male and genderless (agender).
The flag’s colors are dark grey, light grey, light blue, and white. The variants of grey represent different levels of genderlessness. The blue is for masculine gender.
If someone is demifluid, their gender is partially fluid with the other part(s) remain static. It is a type of genderfluidity. For example, one part of their gender is female while the part that fluctuates between male or non-binary gender.
The flag consists of two shades of grey, two gradient stripes that each show the full color spectrum from pink to blue, and a white stripe in the middle.
Demiflux is a gender identity in which one part is static, while the other part(s) fluctuate in intensity. It is a type of genderfluidity. The static side could be female while the other side could be masculine but fluctuate between full intensity (male), half intensity (demiboy), or no intensity (agender), all while the female part does not fluctuate.
The demiflux flag has two shades of grey on either side of one pink stripe, one yellow stripe, and one blue stripe.
Someone who is demigender has a partial, but not a full, connection to a particular gender identity or to the concept of gender. Often, it is a partial connection to a third gender.
The demigender flag has two shades of grey, two yellow stripes representing non-binary gender, and one white stripe.
A demigirl, also called a demiwoman or demifemale, is someone whose gender identity is only partly female but may not comprise of any other genders. They may also define their identity as both female and genderless (agender).
The flag’s colors are dark grey, light grey, pink, and white. The variants of grey represent different levels of genderlessness. The blue is for feminine gender.
GENDERFUID / GENDERFLEXIBLE
A genderfluid person does not have a fixed gender. They may fluctuates between more than one gender, or between having a gender and not having one.
The genderfluid flag represents the fluctuations and the flexibility of gender in genderfluid people. The purple represents the combination of masculinity and femininity. The Black represents all genders, including third genders.
A genderqueer person does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies instead with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders. Genderqueer is sometimes used interchangeably with the term non-binary. This is one of the most common flags used within the non-binary community!
The genderqueer flag is green, white, and purple. The green represents non-binary gender, the white is all or lack of gender, and the purple represents a combination of both masculine and feminine gender.
Although not all intersex persons identify as non-binary, some do! Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with an anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
The intersex flag is yellow with a purple circle. The circle is described as "unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.” The colors yellow and purple are used to symbolize non-binary gender and the combination of both masculine and feminine genders.
LIBRAFLUID / LIBRAFLUX/ AGENDERFLUX
Librafluid, libraflux or agenderflux gender identity is mostly agender, but has a connection to other genders, including feminine or masculine genders, some of the time.
The librafluid, libraflux and agenderflux flag is similar to the agender flag in that the black and white represent lack of gender, while the grey symbolizes semi-genderlessness. The pink and blue gradient in the center represents semi-gendered alignment that fluctuates.
Librafeminine gender identity is mostly agender, but has a connection to femininity.
The librafeminine flag is similar to the agender flag in that the black and white represent lack of gender, while the grey symbolizes semi-genderlessness. The pink in the center represents semi-feminine alignment.
Libramasculine gender identity is mostly agender, but has a connection to masculinity.
The libramasculine flag is similar to the agender flag in that the black and white represent lack of gender, while the grey symbolizes semi-genderlessness. The blue in the center represents semi-masculine alignment.
Libranonbinary gender identity is mostly agender, but has a connection to other genderedness that is neither masculine nor feminine.
The libranonbinary flag is similar to the agender flag in that the black and white represent lack of gender, while the grey symbolizes semi-genderlessness. The blue in the center represents semi-nonbinary gender alignment.
Multigender is a term for anyone who experiences more than one gender identity. It can be used as a gender identity in its own right, or can be an umbrella term.
The mutigender flag has two shades of blue stripes around a single orange stripe.
Neutrois persons are gender neutral. They may not feel a lack of gender like agender persons do, but instead feel a gender identity that is simply “neutral” and neither male nor female. It is considered its own gender rather than a lack of gender. There may be some crossover with agender persons.
The neutrois flag is white, green, and black. Note: the white is hard to see on this image with this white background. Sorry about that 🙂
Non-binary is a large umbrella term for anyone who does not align with the traditional binary gender structure. While many non-binary genders have their own terms, feelings, and flags (as you can see!), some prefer to use the term non-binary as the description of their gender experience without adopting or using a more specific term.
The non-binary flag is yellow, white, purple, and black. It is one of the most common flags used by the non-binary community at large. The yellow represents non-masculine and non-feminine genders, the white represents all genders, the purple is a combination of masculine and femme genders, and the black is for non-genders.
Pangender is a type of multigender that is all genders. This is different from polygender which is many genders, but may not be all genders.
The pangender flag is yellow, two shades of pink, and white. The order of the stripes is yellow, mid-pink, light pink, white, light pink, mid-pink, and then yellow.
A polygender person has many genders. Typically, they have more than three genders since bigender is commonly used by those with two genders and trigender is used for those with three genders.
The flag is black, grey, pink, yellow, and blue. The black respresents all or no genderedness. The grey symbolizes semi-genderedness. The yellow represents non-binary or other genderedness, or something between masculine and feminine genders (hence its location on the flag). The pink and blue symbolize feminine and masculine gender.
A trigender person experiences three genders, either simultaneously or one at a time.
The trigender flag is pink, purple, and green and consists of five stripes in the order of pink-purple-green-purple-pink.
Xenogender combines the word xeno, meaning alien, with gender as a way to describe the otherness, non-binary, non-trans, and non-cis experience that some people have. Xenogendered persons may identify their gender outside of traditional ways of expressing gender, including relating it to trees, animals, or other non-gender related categories. At the date of this post, there are 79 different xenogender labels, many who have their own flags! For further explanation of xenogender or to see the many specific flags, please click here.
The xenogender flag is a pastel-shade rainbow that lacks the color green, which is typically associated with non-genderedness. It has a star and a rainbow-like symbol on it in white.
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