Bi+, Non-Binary & Belonging: Intersectionality in the LGBTI+ community

There is more crossover between the bisexual+ and the gender non-binary communities than you might expect.

It also makes a certain sense: if gender is not important to your attractions, it’s less likely to be important to your identity.

According to genderspectrum, non-binary is “An umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively either boy/man or girl/woman. People who identify their gender as non-binary may feel they have more than one gender, don’t identify with a specific gender, or something else altogether.”

Just as sexuality exists on a scale, and where you fall on the scale can vary at different times in your life, or even daily, so is gender identity not a fixed binary.

A recent study by Curtin PhD researcher, Misty Farquhar, found that, of almost 800 people from across Australia who were bisexual/non-binary, 68% identified as both bisexual and non-binary.

Furthermore, many of those who did not identify as non-binary still played around with normative notions of gender.

The parallels are clear.

Non-binary people can find themselves on the receiving end of prejudice from some people in the trans community, as well as from cisgender people – similar to how bi+ people can feel too queer for straight spaces, yet treated by some as too straight for the queer community.

Finding a place where you feel you belong can be a problem for both communities.

Many organisations and venues use “Gay and Lesbian” as if it were an all-inclusive term, just as events and organisations welcome individuals who “identify as…” male or female.

What is left unsaid in both instances can speak volumes about identity erasure.

Openly bisexual and non-binary actor Nico Tortorella recently took to Instagram to explain how conflicted they felt when they were invited to attend Glamour’s Women of the Year summit.

“My first thought, when asked to participate in any public female-driven event, is always this. Why me? I am not a traditional ‘woman’.” They wrote, before going on to say they acknowledged it was important for them to be seen.

“We need to find a way of addressing the discrimination faced by women without upholding the gender binary and all of its schemes like dividing the world into only ever two, and making us feel as if femininity and masculinity have to be distinct and opposing,” Tortorella said.

Without even reading the comments on posts like this, you can know that not everyone is on the same page when it comes to non-binary individuals. Not everyone is even clear what page they are on until they have to consider it.

We are all looking for a place where feel welcome. Unfortunately, that place is sometimes harder to find than you’d hope.

Jay Chesters

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