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What Percentage of the US Population is Non-Binary?

Robyn Exton

Jan 18, 2022

What Percentage of the US Population is Non-Binary?
  • Millions of adults identify as non-binary in the United States today. Until recently, there was very little solid data on non-binary adults, but as people are becoming more open about their identification, we are learning more and more.

    Recently, The Williams Institute, a research center focused on sexual orientation, gender identity, and public policy, conducted a study examining the demographics of LGBTQ adults ages eighteen to sixty who identify as non-binary. This study provides insight into a large group of people who were otherwise underrepresented in other studies.

    It was found that 1.2 million LGBTQ adults in the US identify as non-binary, which makes up eleven percent of LGBTQ adults. The majority of non-binary adults are under twenty-nine years old, live in urban areas, and are white. Fifty-seven percent also live below the poverty line and ninety-four percent have considered suicide.

    Many non-binary adults also struggle financially with seventy-six percent of non-binary adults being between the ages of eighteen to twenty-nine and fifty-seven percent living below two-hundred percent of the federal poverty line.

    Life for non-binary individuals is not very easy and with many people not fully understanding what it means to be non-binary, it makes life challenging for those who have this identity. There are many ways that people can accept and respect the community and the first step is becoming educated on the non-binary experience.

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    What Does It Mean to be Non-Binary?

    To support the non-binary community, it’s important to understand exactly what this identity entails. Non-Binary or Genderqueer is an umbrella term for gender identities that are neither “male” nor “female“. The term is used to describe any identities outside the gender binary. Many non-binary people don’t identify with the gender binary at all and wouldn’t consider themselves a “boy” or “girl”.

    Some non-binary people may use they/them pronouns, while some may prefer to simply be referred to by their name. It’s very important to ask how someone prefers to be referred to and what pronouns they like.

    A large part of being non-binary is disconnecting gender stereotypes from the way you present (“masculine” or “feminine”), as well as putting less emphasis on identifying as a certain gender and more emphasis on not making assumptions of someone based on stereotypes.

    It’s also a great way to identify for those who may not feel like they fit into stereotypical gender roles or don’t want to restrict themselves to identifying by one specific thing. Many queer people also want to express their fluidity and this identification allows for them to do so. 

    Why It’s Important to Know

    Knowing how someone identifies is incredibly important because it provides the ability to refer to people the way they prefer. This basic respect should be expected and everyone should aim to make others feel comfortable in the workplace and other public spaces.

    Respect in the workplace is very important as well. Everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their skin and discrimination in the workplace is a serious moral and legal problem. Employers should abide by policies that allow non-binary people to feel welcome and prohibit discrimination. Employers and co-workers alike should respect someone’s preferred pronouns.

    Many employers have already pledged to support non-binary and other queer individuals. Some of these companies include Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Buzzfeed, Capital One, Chipotle, Electronic Arts, Google, and Hilton.

    Having an awareness of how common it is to identify as non-binary can help to provide an inclusive environment for all people. Businesses and employers can make more of an effort to use gender-neutral terminology or simply get into the habit of asking someone how they would like to be referred to.

    What Do These Numbers Mean for the Future?

    Knowing the commonality of people who identify as non-binary allows for the world to become less reliant on gender as a marker. This allows for a world where public spaces can use gender-neutral language or be in a habit of asking people what pronouns they prefer. It also allows for gender-neutral bathrooms to become a regular option.

    Associating activities or colors with a certain gender can become a thing of the past and people can simply enjoy their hobbies as they please. There would be less general judgment around the way that someone presents themselves or the clothes they’re wearing and more focus on getting to know someone as a person.

    This would also provide increased awareness that many of us are already doing gender-neutral activities regularly, such as using the pronouns “they” or “them” to refer to someone or using a gender-neutral bathroom in they or someone else’s home. We subconsciously do these things, so we can allow ourselves to consciously do these things.

    It also helps with the differentiation of Intersex and non-binary people. Typically intersex people have anatomy that’s different than the typical definitions of a male or female body. Many intersex people still identify with either being male or female. Non-binary people tend to have typical male or female anatomy but reject identifying by typical male or female gender identities.

    Many Transgender people also don’t tend to identify with being non-binary as well. When in doubt it’s best to ask someone how they prefer to identify.

    Meet Other Non-Binary People with HER

    HER provides an environment where non-binary people can be sure that they’re in a community with other people who relate to them. Find open-minded non-binary people and others who can become your new best friend or maybe your happily ever after.

    With a variety of events, groups, and other ways to communicate, HER is sure to connect you with an awesome community of people. 

    Download on the App Store for free today!

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    Robyn Exton

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

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