International Non-Binary People’s Day celebrates the non-binary community. It shines a spotlight on this identity to raise awareness and to plant seeds of understanding across our wider society in an effort to make it a more inclusive one.
The term “Non-binary” is a way of identifying that is centred around rejecting or feeling misaligned with the concept of there being only two gender options to describe yourself. Non-binary people or “enbies” don’t like to be restricted to either the “man” or “woman” box. Some enbies may feel equally like a man and a woman and some may feel like neither label suits how they feel inside. Some non-binary people also identify with certain binary gender characteristics but this doesn’t make their identity any less valid.
In terms of pronouns, a large proportion of non-binary people use “they/them” but any and all pronouns, including neo pronouns, i.e. “ze/zir,” etc. may be used just the same. It is essential to affirming one’s gender identity that the pronouns that someone identifies with are used and respected.
The wonderful world of gender non-conformity is liberating as it allows people to live outside the binary constructs of male and female, encouraging authentic self-expression, free of rigidity and rules. There are multiple elements of this identity that we should give well-deserved positive attention to.
Non-binary individuals challenge traditional gender stereotypes and strive to break free from societal expectations. Non-binary people may present in a way that is considered “masculine,” “feminine,” both or neither. All forms of expression are celebrated in the gender non-conforming community.
Embracing a non-binary identity involves a deep level self-reflection, self-acceptance and continuous growth. Because of this, non-binary people are more likely to have higher levels of self-awareness and in turn, are more likely to have done important inner work.
While being non-binary is empowering, it also comes with significant challenges. Navigating misgendering, discrimination and ignorance can be a huge burden. However, through overcoming these challenges, resilience is born—enbies learn to stand up and advocate for themselves, a skill that lends itself to all aspects of life.
Ultimately, being non-binary is about celebrating the patchwork blanket of human diversity. This identity fosters a more open-minded way of being and a greater acceptance of others overall. With this mindset, the world can become a better place as intersectional injustices like racism and xenophobia are better recognised and challenged.
However, this day has only been celebrated since 2012, which is very telling as to how little awareness exists surrounding the non-binary identity and how much visibility for this community is still needed. What’s more, the active celebration of gender non-conformity is almost non-existent, broadly speaking.
Another considerable issue for this group of people is non-binary erasure. Day to day, this can look like misgendering those who identify as non-binary or denying their existence altogether. On a larger scale, this looks like limited legal recognition on documentation, with the only gender options often being “male” and “female.”
This International Non-Binary People’s Day, we encourage you to challenge gender stereotypes in a way that feels freeing to you, no matter your gender, as an act of allyship for the non-binary community. This creates more space in society for gender non-conforming people to grow into their most authentic selves and thrive.