July 14: Celebrating International Non-Binary People’s Day

July 14th marks International Non-Binary People’s Day around the world, celebrating folks who identify outside of the gender binary, and raise awareness of issues and challenges faced by the community.

Non-binary identities may express themselves with a combination of genders, or no gender at all. Many non-binary folks feel comfortable under the umbrella of trans identities, while others may identify partially with male or female expressions.

As with all sectors of the rich and diverse LGBTQIA+ community, non-binary lives, pronouns and identities are not monolithic.

ABC’s Four Corners program gave a voice to a group of young non-binary Australians in 2020, who shared why their non-binary identity is so important to them.

“Everyone wants to fit into a box,” 22-year-old Riley told Four Corners.

“And even I want to fit myself into a box because that’s how we are raised to think. That’s how society works… So the idea of being something that wasn’t male or female was very, very difficult for everyone around me. And it’s still something I’m coming to terms with.”

11-year-old Olivia explains “I am non-binary which means I have no gender. I am just me.”

“The world basically revolves around boxes and those two boxes are a male and a female box. And if you’re born with a female body you have to be female and if you are born with a male body you have to be a male and you’ve been put into a box.”

Writing for OUTinPerth, Bi+ Community Perth member Jay Chesters highlighted intersectionality between non-binary folks and the bisexual+ community; “Just as sexuality exists on a scale… 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,” Chesters wrote.

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

Chesters continues to dive into discrimination faced by non-binary folks from within the LGBTIQ+ community.

“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.”

This year, ACON’s Pride In Sport are marking the occasion with an online event addressing stigma and inequity faced by gender non-conforming folks in sport.

If you are a non-binary person seeking community in WA, or resources on how to be a better ally to non-binary folks, head to transfolkofwa.org

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