Understanding Non-Binary

Understanding Non-Binary

The majority of people, including the majority of transgender people, are either male or female. However, not everyone fits perfectly into the classifications of "man" or "woman," or "male" or "female." Some individuals, for example, have a gender that combines elements of being a man and a woman, or a gender that is neither male nor female. Some individuals do not identify as either male or female. Sometimes the gender of some people may shift over time. So where does the concept of non-binary come into play?

People who are neither male nor female use a variety of terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being the most common. Genderqueer, agender, bigender, and other terms are also used. None of these terms means the same thing but they all refer to a gender experience that is not purely male or female.

Why do We Use the Term Non-Binary?

Some societies, including ours, recognise only two genders: male and female. The concept of only two genders is sometimes referred to as a "gender binary," because binary means "having two parts" (male and female). As a result, "non-binary" is a term used to describe genders that do not fit into one of the two main categories of male or female.

Things You Need to Understand

Non-binary people are not just a new phenomenon. Non-binary people aren't confused about their gender identification, nor are they trying to follow a new fad. Non-binary identities have been recognised by cultures and societies all over the world for thousands of years.

A few non-binary people, but not all, have medical interventions to make their bodies more compatible with their gender identity. While not all non-binary people require medical care to lead a better life, for many, it is critical, if not life-saving.

Another common assumption that we need to clear up is that the majority of transgender people are not non-binary. While some transgender people are non-binary, the majority of transgender people identify as male or female and therefore should be treated like every other man or woman.

Being non-binary does not imply being intersex. Intersex people have anatomy or genes that do not conform to traditional male and female definitions. The majority of intersex people identify as men or women. Non-binary people are not typically intersex. They are brought into the world with bodies that may match conventional definitions of male and female, but their instinctive gender identity is something other than male or female.

How to be Supportive of Non-Binary People 

Even if you're new to non-binary people, it's not as difficult as you might think to be supportive and respectful of them. You don't have to understand what it means to be non-binary to respect them. Some people have never heard much about non-binary genders or have difficulty understanding them, which is fine. However, identities that some people can't understand still deserve to be respected.

Use the name that the person requests. This is one of the most important aspects of being considerate of a non-binary person, as their name may not reflect their gender identity. Do not inquire about someone's previous name, if they wanted you to know they would have told you. 

Avoid making assumptions about people's gender. You can't tell if someone is non-binary just by looking at them, and you can't tell somebody is transgender just by looking at them. If you're unsure about someone's pronouns, ask. Non-binary people may use a variety of pronouns. Many non-binary people use "they," while others use "he," "she," or other pronouns. Inquiring whether someone should be addressed as "he," "she," "they," or another pronoun may seem awkward at first, but it is one of the easiest and most significant ways to demonstrate respect for someone's identity.

Understand that determining which bathroom to use can be difficult for many non-binary people. Many non-binary people may feel unsafe using either the women's or men's restrooms because others may verbally or physically harass them. Non-binary people should be able to use the restroom where they believe they will be safest.

Finally, speak with non-binary individuals to learn more about who they are. There is no singular way to be non-binary. Talking with non-binary people and listening to their stories is the best way to understand what it's like to be non-binary.

About Kontroversial

Everyone sees the world differently, and you have the right to break the mould, live your life your way, and be who you want to be. "To conform is to give in," but we are a generation of fighters, activists, and one-of-a-kind beings. We strive to make the world a better place, one that is more accepting and open, and we will fight for everyone's right to express themselves in whatever way they see fit. Be yourself, not the person they want you to be.

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