Association Transgenre Wallonie
Page E36 - Non-binary people
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Non-binary people

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In today's society, there are men and women ; this is what we call the "societal binary". But some people do not recognize themselves in this binary. They refuse to be "boxed" ! They declare themselves to be "non-binary" or "genderqueer". But what does that really mean ? How do these people feel ? Why do they refuse to fit into one of the two gender categories ?

I don't have the infused science but I will still try to provide an explanation to all these questions. Simply because these people have just as much right, as binary people, to live their lives as they wish. This non-binarity is no more an anomaly than being left-handed, having red hair or feeling like a "woman" when you were assigned "man" at birth.

If we are looking for a definition of the term "non-binary", we will read this : The terms "non-binary" and "genderqueer" refer to people whose gender identity does not fit into the binary norm, it means they feel neither male nor female, believing themselves to be between the two, or a "mixture" of the two or neither. You will say to me : but how is this possible ? Well, frankly, I have absolutely no idea! It is the diversity of human nature !

If we dig a little deeper and consult, for example, the online encyclopedia "Wikipedia", we will read, after the given definition, an explanation enlightening us a little more about this state of non-binarity of people :

"This identity is opposed to gender binarity and the hierarchy of genders that can accompany it (patriarchy). It also calls into question the assignment of birth to a given gender." Here we are! These people do not want to fit into the boxes that have organized our society for millennia and/or they refuse this hierarchy of society where men dominate women.They also contest this assignment of human beings from birth, an assignment which is neither more nor less than an attack on the personality of the child who has just been born !

In a way, these non-binary people, by affirming themselves as such, are taking a political act. The concept of non-binary disturbs the heteronormative order of society which rejects them because it is deeply binary and patriarchal. "Traditionalists" are afraid of a disruption of the "gender order". √Čric Fassin, professor of sociology at the University of Paris, explains that in a society whose evolution is worrying, some people may want to cling to what does not change by looking in nature, and in the idea that Humanity is naturally divided into two groups, giving a sense of stability in an increasingly less stable world.

But, I am going to complicate this situation a little more! It is a fact that it is not easy to admit that some people are non-binary and yet this non-binarity is multiple. It is qualified by other words that will make this situation even more nebulous.

The first word I submit to you is "agender". Etymologically, this term means "without gender"! How is it possible ? To be genderless means "not to identify with any gender identity." An agender person identifies as having no gender identity. Gender is neutralized. While the non-binary person is placed in an intermediate position on the male/female axis, the agender person is located outside this axis.

The second word is "neutrois". Here is another one of those incomprehensible words! This term qualifies a gender identity that is neutral! An Individual claiming to be neither woman nor man, identifying neither with the male gender nor with the female gender. But for most people, it doesn't exist. However, some countries have accepted this "new gender" by giving these people the possibility of requesting that their mention of gender on their identity document be entered as "neutral".

The "agender" and "neutrois" identities are probably the most assertive denial of a gender marker and therefore the most extreme form of non-binarity. I use the term "extreme" in the sense of "more marked" not in the sense of extremism! But let's continue because there are other terms that also qualify this non-binarity.

The third word is probably the easiest to understand. This is the term "bigender". A bigender person is someone who identifies with two genders at the same time. Attention: these people are not of one gender and then of another gender in a later period of their life. They are of two genders at the same time and at every moment of their lives.

The fourth word is "pangender" which means "of all genders equally". This gender identity is both on the non-binary spectrum but also on the multigender spectrum. The term "omnigender" is a synonym. It can be used to denote a complete disinterest in one's own gender identity (how others view one's gender identity), in the sense that there is a disinterest in the use of particular pronouns, as long as others don't. Don't insist on being cisgender. It also designates a large panel of genres which may or may not tend towards infinity (in the sense that this deep sense of belonging to certain gender identities may even go beyond current knowledge of genders). Which means that, to be “pangender”, a knowledge of all the gender identities that exist today is not necessary, since it goes beyond the known genders.

A fifth word is a compound word: "gender fluid". This means that this person's gender changes over time between any combination of genders (two or more). This has nothing to do with intersex because this state does not relate to an anatomical situation of the body. The definition of this term is porous, that is to say, it can encompass all those who, in their gender identity, feel neither completely male nor completely female, or at the same time man and woman, or man born in a woman's body or vice versa. The affirmation of a fluid gender identity is very visible in the fashion world.

The non-binarity of a person can provoke intense reactions of rejection in the school or family environment. The rejection of non-binary people is called "enbyphobia", a neologism formed from the initials of Non-Binary, NB, pronounced in English.

Non-binarity is a concept used in social sciences to designate the categorization of people, called non-binary or genderqueer, whose gender identity does not fit into the binary norm, i.e. who does not feel neither male nor female, but between the two, a "mixture" of the two, or neither.

This identity is opposed to gender binarity and the hierarchy of genders that can accompany it (patriarchy). It also calls into question the sexual assignment to a given gender.

Non-binarity should not be confused with :

Androgyny which refers to the appearance, that is to say the way others see this person.

Intersex, which concerns the anatomical and particularly sexual characteristics of the person.

Non-binary gender identity concerns the person's feelings like transgender people, but they are not transgender. It is also completely foreign to sexual orientation. Indeed, a non-binary person can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual or pansexual.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a new term appeared to qualify these people. This is the term "intergender" which is intended to be a "dome" term comprising the following categories: "agegender", "neutrois", "bigender", "gender fluid", "pangender".

All these expressions have one thing in common: that of undoing the hierarchy of genders, of refusing the order of genders, that is to say a world made up solely of men and women. They emphasize gender fluidity. To simplify, the gender-fluid are people who will define themselves, at some point, in relation to their feelings, more in a feminine or masculine axis, but without feeling confined to one gender or another. This is also another way to neutralize gender and gender roles.

The "agender" and "neutrois" identities are the strongest rejection of a gender marker and therefore the most advanced form of non-binarity. To know how to express oneself in front of such a person, the only thing to do is to ask him how he wishes to be qualified and what pronoun should be used. Thus informed, the conversation can take place in a respectful and friendly atmosphere.

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