You’ve got more than two options.
You may have heard a lot of talk recently about gender identity and expression. Modern Western society has a binary culture that’s only recently being challenged. There are more and more people coming out as gender fluid or non-binary.
But what does it mean to be non-binary? If you’ve struggled with your assigned gender, you might be asking yourself, “am I non-binary?”
We’re here to help.
What Makes You Ask the Question, “Am I Non-Binary?”
The fact that you’re even researching the topic of being non-binary probably means you’re not completely cis. Cis is a term used to refer to being assigned the correct gender you identify with at birth.
But you want to be sure and that’s normal. Think about the moment it dawned on you to consider the possibility that you’re non-binary. What triggered that thought?
Look back on your life, specifically your childhood. Does the concept of your potential non-binary gender expression cast memories in a new light?
Did you often rebel against your family or friends projecting certain gender stereotypes on you? Were you bullied for not acting like the gender you were assigned at birth?
When you were a kid, you didn’t have the terminology to pinpoint a lack of gender. Your parents likely didn’t either. Now that society has evolved to allow gender exploration more freely, you have the tools to figure yourself out.
Have You Listened to the Experiences of Non-Binary People?
The best way to figure out if you’re non-binary is to talk to someone who is. And ask questions! The goal is to find out if what you’re experiencing is similar to theirs.
Should you figure out that you actually are non-binary, having these relationships will be helpful. The queer community is notorious for their love and care of recently out people. Look for your local LGBTQ+ support groups to help guide you through any transition you decide to make.
Those groups can be hard to find in person if you’re not in a metropolitan area. Rest assured there are online groups as well. You can also read about the experiences of non-binary people online.
Are You in a Safe Environment to Come Out?
It’s upsetting that the topic of gender expression is so controversial, but our society is still going through the process of understanding it. Some people just don’t get it and don’t want to. Some people are violent about it.
If you figure out that you’re non-binary, it’s very important that you’re safe.
If you find that you are not, that doesn’t make you any less non-binary. Living in a closet isn’t fun, but until you can come out in a safe environment, you may need to. And that’s okay.
You can take all the time you need to figure out what labels fit you best. It’s your decision on when to let the world see you.
Have You Tried Living a Non-Binary Lifestyle?
If you are at a point in your life where you can live a non-binary life safely, have you tried experimenting with it? Even in a small way?
Give the barista at a new cafe a gender-neutral name to call out. Introduce yourself and your preferred pronouns to someone who isn’t a permanent fixture in your life. It’s not a commitment and you can always continue living life as who you are now if it doesn’t feel good.
Alternatively, you can be open about your gender exploration with your closest companions. Let them know you’re in a testing phase. Ask them to start referring to you in your preferred pronouns and see how it feels from your best bud.
This can be a slow transition, piece by piece if that’s how you prefer it.
If you find yourself head over heels in love with this new lifestyle, then embrace it! Change your social media pronouns, buy gender-neutral clothing, get a non binary flag!
The point is to do what feels right to you, at your own pace.
Have You Considered Long-Term Logistics?
If you’re ready to live openly and fully as a non-binary person, make sure you’re aware of the legal aspects. They’re different for every state.
Good questions to research about the logistical side are things like how do you change your name in your state? Does your state allow you to identify as non-binary on your ID? What are your legal options should someone at work discriminate against you for your gender identity?
Arm yourself with a solid knowledge of your rights. If you’re currently living somewhere that isn’t very accepting of gender fluidity, become a part of the movement to change that. Not just for you, but everyone who will be figuring out their gender identity after you do.
Everyone’s Identity Evolves
Even if you decide you’re not non-binary, you can explore other reasons for the way you’re feeling. Maybe you’re trans. Maybe you’re fed up with how the world treats your assigned gender, even if it is your true gender.
These are all alternatives to being non-binary that could explain your gender frustration and why you’re asking “am I non-binary” in the first place.
Maybe you’re non-binary right now, but will evolve into a different gender that fits you better in a few years. Gender is fluid and can grow as much as you do over the years.
Just know that no matter what you land on, you’re not alone.
Check out our other blogs for more information on gender and sexuality.