Non-binary is an umbrella term to describe people who identify with a gender outside of the gender binary, and can be categorized under the trans umbrella term, although not all non-binary people identify as trans. The word non-binary describes a wide array of different identities which fall outside of the gender binary, and can be related to, or completely separate from male and female gender identities.

What is the gender binary?

The gender binary is the assumption that all people are one of two genders, female or male, or woman or man. People who identity as a man or a woman identify as a binary gender, since they identify with a gender within the system of the gender binary. A non-binary person simply identifies with a gender that is not male or female.

What kinds of non-binary genders exist?

There are many different genders which exist outside of the gender binary. Some non-binary genders and terms include but are not limited to:

  • Agender – having no gender or being genderless
  • Androgyne – identifying somewhere in between man and woman
  • Bigender – having two gender identities, either at the same time or interchangeably
  • Demiboy – partially, but not completely, identifying as a man, boy, or masculine person
  • Demigender – having partial connection with one gender (male, female, or other)
  • Demigirl – partially, but not completely, identifying as a woman, girl, or feminine person
  • Enby – a slang term to refer to a non-binary person, not all non-binary people identify with this term
  • Genderfluid – moving between two or more gender identities at different times, in different circumstances, etc.
  • Genderqueer – a non-normative or queer gender, having no exclusive connection to any gender
  • Multigender – having more than one gender
  • Neutrois – neutral or null gender, similar to agender
  • Non-binary – an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is neither man or woman; can also be used as an individual gender identity for someone who is neither a woman nor a man, but does not identify further
  • Pangender- having many or all genders within one’s culture
  • Transfeminine or Transfem – a person assigned male at birth (AMAB) who identifies with a feminine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a woman
  • Transmasculine or Transmasc – a person assigned female at birth (AFAB) who identifies with a masculine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a man

Pronouns

Pronouns, in relation to gender identity, are nouns that refer to another individual in place of their name in the third-person. Traditionally, a woman would be referred to as she or her and a man would be referred to with he and him. For instance, when introducing herself, a woman might say “I use she/her pronouns.” Some, but not all, non-binary people may choose to continue using the pronouns associated with their assigned gender at birth. Other non-binary people, commonly, use they/them as their pronoun.

I think I’m non-binary, do I have to use they/them pronouns?

No, you can use any pronoun or combination of pronouns you’d like. In addition to she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns, there are other pronouns which include but are not limited to:

  • Ze/hir
  • Xe/xem
  • Hy/hym
  • Co/cos

Non-binary people can choose to use one set of pronouns, but can also choose to use a two or more sets of pronouns, or even all pronouns. There is no one way to be non-binary.

Can non-binary people transition?

Yes! Just like any other trans person, non-binary people can transition as well.

What does transitioning look like for non-binary people?

Just like trans men and women, there is no requirement for how a non-binary person transitions. Non-binary people may opt to have surgeries to affirm their gender, such as breast removal or reduction, breast implantation, or genital reconstruction. Non-binary people may also choose to transition with hormones, like testosterone or oestrogen.

Some non-binary people may select only one method of medical transitions, while others select multiple, or even none at all. Some non-medical transition options for trans and non-binary people include selecting different pronouns, choosing a new name, or changing their outward presentation (hair style, clothing, makeup, etc.).

There are no rules for how a non-binary person transitions, they might even choose to make little or no changes at all. Regardless of a person’s choice to transition, it does not make them any less non-binary.

Who can be non-binary?

Anyone who does not identify as a man or a woman!


What Next?

MORE READING

For more about gender identity, check out Being transgender and A-Z of gender identity.

For more information about gender around the world, check out this Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures.

SUPPORT

For more information about gender, visit http://www.genderedintelligence.co.uk.

Find and contact support groups near you at https://www.transunite.co.uk which contains the most up-to-date listings for online and offline trans communities.

For more information and resources for non-binary people, visit http://beyondthebinary.co.uk/.

If you would like to speak with someone about LGBTQ+ issues, call Switchboard at 0300 330 0630 between 10am-10pm, email [email protected], or access their web text chat here.

If you would like to speak to someone about coming out, family problems, sexual health, or training for your company or provider, contact Support U at 0118 321 9111.

Check out our OutLife Forums for a safe and non-judgmental space where LGBTQ+ people can talk to one another about their issues and life experience.