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What does non-binary (also enby / enbies) mean?

Robyn Exton

Jun 18, 2020

What does non-binary (also enby / enbies) mean?
  • Non-binary is a term that means a person identifies somewhere outside the traditional male/female gender binary. People also use terms like enby, enbies and NB. It’s an umbrella term for many identities that aren’t male or female. While people use varying terms and definition under the non-binary umbrella, they all share one thing in common: they exist outside the gender binary.

    Non-binary is a umbrella term for gender identities that are outside of the traditional male/female gender binary, including bigender, agender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, two-spirit or genderfluid.

    Is it a new identity?

    Non-binary is a gender identity that has become more widely known and understood in recent years, but it is not a new identity. Not fitting into either the male or female binary categories can be difficult, and it can be hard sometimes to date as a non-binary person. Enbies people can be any sexuality, whether that’s lesbian, bisexual, bi-curious, asexual, or something else entirely.

    What do they look like?

    It’s important to remember that all non-binary people are different! Some enby people identify as trans (as they’ve transitioned away from their original gender) – some don’t. Some non-binary people use they/them pronouns, some use he/him or she/her, and some use a combination of different pronouns. Some present and look more androgynous, while others are high femme or butch. Some change their names when they come out, some don’t. Some non-binary people are also comfortable with terms that are traditionally seen as gendered, like lesbian, girlfriend or boyfriend, or husband or wife. However some non-binary people don’t like these gendered terms being used to describe them. It’s always important not to assume anything, and to ask each individual how they would like to be referred to.

    How do I know if I’m non-binary?

    People figure out they’re non-binary in lots of different ways. Some people realise because they experience gender dysphoria, don’t feel at home in their bodies or don’t like when they are referred to with gendered pronouns. If you’re thinking about it, talk about it with a close friend or find other non-binary people you can talk to about it and explore the idea. Take as much time as you need and be gentle with yourself.

    Different non-binary people also approach coming out and stepping into their authentic selves differently. Some pursue gender confirmation hormones or surgeries, some don’t. However a non-binary person chooses to identify, express their gender identity and transition (or not) is valid and deserves respect.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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