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International Non-Binary People’s Day

International Non-Binary People’s Day is celebrated across the world on July 14th.

Non-binary is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t fit within the binary identities of being a ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary people can identify with some aspects of those binary identities, while others do not identify with either. 

Gender identity and gender expression/experience are two different things. For non-binary people, their gender expression can be either masculine presenting, feminine presenting, or a mixture of the two, or completely outside of the binary and something unique to them. Gender identity and gender expression are two different things, and expression denotes the way the non-binary person expresses their gender.

Here are some simple tips to help you become a better ally to the non-binary community.

  • Not everyone uses ‘he’ or ‘she’ pronouns. The most common gender-neutral pronoun is the singular ‘they’ (they/them/theirs). Using a persons correct pronouns shows that you respect who they are and how they identify.
  • When introducing yourself to new people, use your name and pronouns. You can also put your pronouns in your email signature, in your social media bios or even wear a pronoun badge. Stating your pronouns reminds others not to assume someone else pronouns or identity. 
  • Try using terms and words that challenge society’s definition of ‘traditional’ view of relationships and gender, such as ‘partner’, or ‘siblings’, when having conversations with others.
  • Explore using more inclusive alternatives to 'ladies and gentlemen' such as ‘everyone’ or ‘folks’ when addressing groups of people.
  • Practice referring to individuals as ‘they/them’, even if you’re referring to a cis-gendered person. It helps to get used to using they/them pronouns, and makes it easy to put them in to play immediately upon becoming acquainted with a non-binary person.  
Getting all of this right isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our utmost to get it right. For the times we do make mistakes, owning them and offer to take steps to be better next time is vital. Our society and culture are embedded with gender stereotypes, but slowly we are moving away from these. Once we start to notice these nuances, we can move towards using language that’s inclusive for all.

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