We hope everyone’s PRIDE month was loud, proud, bold & beautiful. This month is also chock-full of PRIDE as we enter Non-Binary Awareness Week. Non-Binary Awareness Week, which runs July 11th – 16th, is a week dedicated to raising awareness about the lives, needs, and visibility of those who don’t identify with the traditional gender binary. July 14th is International Non-Binary People’s Day! This day was created and observed to celebrate the wide spectrum of folks who identify as non-binary.
I’m sure some of you may be wondering, what is non-binary? The term non-binary refers to individuals who fall outside of the gender binary as we know it. Some folks who are non-binary see themselves as neither man nor woman, or as both man and woman. And some other non-binary folks see themselves as something else not on the traditional binary. Something else important to express is that while there are many folks who are non-binary that also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people identify as such. Non-binary can also be an umbrella term for folks who identify as bi-gender, genderqueer, genderfluid, etc.
For some folks, this information might not be new or common knowledge – so let’s break down being non-binary, and what it means, by talking about the difference between gender identity and gender expression. Gender is a complicated system of social identities, roles & expressions, commonly assigned based on one’s genitalia, assigned at birth. However, gender as we know it is a wide spectrum that goes further than man and woman. Gender Identity (internal – what you feel on the inside), is one’s own sense of gender, personally. Gender identities also have a vast spectrum; folks can be and identify as transgender, cisgender, 2Spirit, non-binary, etc. Gender identities, as we continue to see, are unique to every culture. Gender Expression (external – how we want to be viewed), usually, but not always, reflects a person’s gender identity. This is, you guessed it, also on a very wide spectrum. Folks can express/present masculine, butch, androgynous, femme, etc. And those are just a few examples of ways that folks express themselves!
As mentioned before, non-binary people who identify outside of the gender binary have existed in other non-western cultures and societies for many centuries. We are living in a revolutionary time where people are decolonizing their understanding of what we know, including gender, sex, & sexuality, and embracing our full authentic selves! Maybe you already have someone in your life who is non-binary, and if not, chances are one day you will meet someone who identifies as such. Here are a few tips and ways to be a better ally and supporter to your non-binary siblings. As always lovelies, thank you for learning with us and remember to #heauxresponsibly.