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Many people feel that binary gender definitions (male/female) do not reflect their true gender identity. In this case, they may refer to their gender as non-binary and to themselves as genderqueer.
Although non-binary individuals are part of the LGBTQ+ community and their gender is different than the one that society assigned to them at birth, they may or may not also describe themselves as transgender.
Find out what non-binary means, how to refer to a non-binary person, and how non-binary identities are recognized by law in the US.
Tu put it simply, ‘non-binary’ means neither female nor male. A non-binary person does not feel represented by conventional binary terms and definitions, meaning that they are not strictly female or male, at least not all the time.
‘Non-binary’ is an umbrella term — although for some it is enough to define their gender identity, many others prefer more specific terms. There are several non-binary identities, such as abinary, genderfluid, etc.
Since non-binary people do not identify as female nor male, binary pronouns like ‘she/her’ or ‘he/him’ should not be used to refer to them without their consent.
There is no one-fit-all rule when it comes to non-binary and gender-neutral pronouns. It is always best to directly ask a person what pronouns and titles you should use when talking to and about them.
Here are some examples of gender-neutral pronouns:
The United States does not recognize any non-binary gender at federal level. However, states are passing increasingly more inclusive laws.
In 2016, James Shupe was the first US citizen to have a non-binary gender on official documents thanks to the ruling of a court in Multnomah County, Oregon. Other states followed and it is now possible to obtain a non-binary birth certificate and other official documents in some states.
While the neutral gender X marker is still relatively uncommon in US documents, most states allow for transgender birth certificate amendments. Specific requirements vary greatly according to state laws.