On the Nonbinary Community

Happy New Year! Let’s go back to talking about specific identities, yeah?

I think I’ll start the year off talking about a community that sometimes gets put under the transgender umbrella, but not really talked about specifically: the nonbinary community.

The term basically just means existing or identifying outside the sex/gender binary. The gender identity can be described as being a man nor woman, partially or a combination of these.

Similar to my format of the Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community, this post will follow the format of: History, Myths, and Facts.

History

Contrary to popular belief, the gender identity of nonbinary is nothing new; it’s just a fairly new term used to describe one’s gender. Examples in history would be those who identify as hijras that dates back to the 15th Century and the two-spirit community, which dates back to the 18th Century. (Papisova) Another example are gender diverse folks, which New Zealand took on as an official third gender for government organizations in 2008. (Godfrey)

Here are Some Myths About Nonbinary Folks

  • Nonbinary people are intersex (Ballou)
  • They don’t medically transition (Ballou)
  • Can’t experience gender dysphoria (Weiss)
  • Always use nonbinary (not she/her or he/him) gender pronouns (Finch)
  • Are neither femme nor masculine presenting (Weiss)
  • Nonbinary people of color don’t exist (see sources below for a thesis paper about it)
  • Nonbinary people don’t exist (Ballou)

Those Are Myths, here’s some Facts

  • Some nonbinary people might also identify as genderfluid, genderqueer, and/or gender non-conforming.
  • It is a gender identity, not just a gender expression. (Finch)
  • An identity of an attraction to nonbinary people is skoliosexual.
  • Nonbinary people can identify with any sexual orientation, regardless of their gender expression (Finch)
  • In the Province of Ontario, Oregon, and California, X is an option as a third gender on forms of identification like a driver’s licenses, which can include nonbinary folks. (Ferguson)
  • According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, where 31% of participants identified as nonbinary, 71% of the nonbinary participants said they were never or only sometimes treated with respect by law enforcement in the past year. This was the highest percentage compared to all of the other identities surveyed (crossdressers, trans men, trans women were the others). Nonbinary people with female on their birth certificate also have the highest rate of experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime. (James)
  • While there are not a lot of LGBTQ voices surrounding information about experiences with eating disorders, they seem to be common within the queer and transgender community. This is the story of a nonbinary person who starved themselves as a method of changing their body to match how their gender identity. (Conroy)

I hope this helped you learned a little bit more about the nonbinary community. Be sure to check out the sources as resources for more information!

Sources:

Ballou, A. (2014). 10 Myths About Non-Binary People it’s Time to Unlearn. Everyday Feminism. Retrieved from: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/12/myths-non-binary-people/

Conroy, J. This Gendered Body: Living with an Eating Disorder and Finding My Voice as Queer Nonbinary Person. National Eating Disorders Association. Retrieved from: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/node/6825

Ferguson, J. M. (2016). We Are Non-Binary Trans People And Yes, We Exist. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/joshua-m-ferguson/non-binary-trans-people_b_12443154.html

Finch, S.D. (2015). These 7 Assumptions About Non-Binary Folks May Be Hindering Your Trans Allyship. Everyday Feminism. Retrieved from: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/assumptions-non-binary-folks/

Godfrey, J. (2015). Kiwis First to Officially Recognize Third Gender. Nonprofit Quarterly. Retrieved from: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2015/07/20/kiwis-first-to-officially-recognize-third-gender/

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality. Retrieved from: http://www.ustranssurvey.org/report

Papisova, V. (2016). Here’s What It Means When You Don’t Identify as a Girl or a Boy. Teen Vogue. Retrieved from: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-is-non-binary-gender

Sarfaty, Allie N. Mx., “Not Trans Enough: The Intersections of Whiteness & Nonbinary Gender Identity” (2016). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 1029.
Retrieved from: http://scholar.colorado.edu/honr_theses/1029

Weiss, S. (2016). 5 Things That Don’t Prevent Someone From Being Non-Binary. Bustle. Retrieved from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/165052-5-things-that-dont-prevent-someone-from-being-non-binary

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