As we clean up the rainbows and glitter from another wonderful Bristol Pride, it’s important for us to reflect on the progress that has been made and how far we still have to go to ensure inclusion and equality for all people in the LGBTQ+ community.
International Non-Binary People’s Day
The 14th of July is International Non-Binary People’s Day, which celebrates non-binary individuals around the world. It was founded in 2012 and was chosen as it falls directly between International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day.
What does it mean to be non-binary?
Non-binary is an umbrella term for gender identities that are neither male nor female and includes people who are genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, and more. Because non-binary people typically identify with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth, they also fall under the trans/transgender umbrella. Some non-binary people however will not consider themselves to be trans so it’s important to respect the terms that people use to describe themselves.
There is a long a rich history of non-binary individuals throughout the world, many who have been impacted by colonialism. You can find out more about non-binary identities in history and in different cultures.
What’s it like being non-binary in the UK today?
Currently, non-binary people in the UK do not have legal recognition, meaning many have to choose between ‘male’ and ‘female’ on official documents like passports, driving licenses and marriage certificates. Furthermore, there are high rates of poor mental health among non-binary individuals and over 30% in a 2015 study reported being the victim of physical harassment.
How can I be an ally to non-binary people?
This International Non-Binary People’s Day, consider implementing some of the tips below in your everyday life:
- Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns if you feel comfortable. This reminds people how you want to be referred to and gives non-binary people the space and confidence to do the same.
- There is so much gendered language all around us from pronouns, titles, ‘ladies and gentlemen’, or asking about someone’s ‘wife’ or ‘husband’. Try to avoid gendered language and use terms like ‘folks’, ‘spouse’, and use ‘they’ to refer to people whose pronouns you don’t know. You can also give people the option to use non-gendered titles like ‘Mx’ (pronounced mix or mux).
- Be an intersectional ally and actively learn about and campaign for non-binary people of Black, Asian and Ethnic backgrounds, refugees and asylum seekers, disabled, or otherwise minoritised in society.
- Include non-binary people when celebrating LGBTQ+ people in your events or when highlighting role models.
- Make sure policies, documents, and learning materials use inclusive language.
- Support the rights of non-binary people: educate yourself and others.
To learn more, check out these resources: