Types of non-binary people: trans, sexual orientation and pronouns

The non-binary person is the one who does not identify with the male gender, nor with the female gender. Your gender identity does not fit 100% within the gender binary.

This means that the non-binary person does not necessarily identify as male or female, and may assume a neutral gender, transition between genders or even merge them (among other possibilities).

It is often said that the non-binary is an “umbrella” term, capable of harboring within itself an infinity of gender identities. The name genderqueer (or gender want) is also used to name the entire multiplicity of non-binary identities.

How many and what are non-binary identities?

There is no definitive answer to this question.. The Orientando website, whose mission is to teach people about topics such as sexual orientation and gender identity, brings together 300 non-binary identities. But he cautions that the list is not complete, as other forms of identification are possible.

Below, we list some non-binary identities:

  • Gender: identity defined by the absence of gender.
  • Androgyne (androgyne): identity characterized by the mixture of male and female genders.
  • Fluid gender: identity characterized by periodic gender change.
  • Non-binary woman (non-binary): identity of the non-binary person who, for some reason, can approach the female gender. E.g.: a non-binary person who, in situations where their gender is not accepted, ends up adopting the female identity.
  • Non-binary (non-binary) male: identity of the non-binary person who, for some reason, can approach the male gender. E.g.: a non-binary person who has a predilection for typically male elements, such as clothing.
  • Neutrois: identity also called neutral gender - that is, it is neither male nor female, nor a mixture of the two.
  • Demi-gender: identity of the person who only partially identifies with a given gender. The person can be, for example, demi-boy or demi-boy.
  • Transfeminina (transfeminine): identity of the person who, at birth, was assigned the male gender, but identifies with the female gender.
  • Transmasculine (transmasculine): identity of the person who, at birth, was assigned the female gender, but identifies with the male gender.
  • Xenogender: identity that encompasses various types of gender that are defined by the association with beings, feelings or phenomena, that is, things that are not part of the binary gender universe. Eg: people who define their own gender with reference to a color (gender-color).

Is there a difference between non-binary and trans?

A transgender person is someone who does not identify with the gender (male or female) assigned to them at birth (their gender of record). So, it can be said that all divergent gender identities, including non-binary identities, can be grouped under the trans denomination.. That's why many people define themselves as non-binary trans.

By not identifying 100% with either of the two genders, the non-binary person refuses their registered gender, positioning themselves alongside trans women and men in the broad spectrum of transgenderity.

Read more about what is it to be transgender.

What does non-binarity have to do with sexual orientation?

Non-binarity is in the realm of gender identity, not sexual orientation. It is important to make it clear that gender identity and sexual orientation are different things.

Gender identity is how a person identifies himself. Sexual orientation, on the other hand, has to do with a person's sexual and affective interest.

A person who identifies with the gender assigned to him/her at birth is a cisgender person (cis female or male). A person who does not identify with the gender that was imposed at birth can be a trans woman, a trans man or a non-binary person. In both cases, we are in the field of gender identity.

THE sexual orientation, on the other hand, has to do with sexual attraction. The best known types of sexual orientation are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and pansexual.

Understand what they mean pansexual and homosexuality.

A cisgender man who has an interest in cis or trans women is heterosexual. A transgender woman who has relationships with cis or trans women is a homosexual (or lesbian). A transgender man who is in relationships with cis or trans women is heterosexual.

Read more about what is gender identity and about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.

The case of pronouns: how to address a non-binary person?

Our grammar, as we learn it at school, recognizes the existence of only two genders: male and female. So, when we want to refer to a man, we use the pronoun “he”. Most of the names (nouns and adjectives) inflect in gender: that's why we differentiate “teacher” from “teacher”, “student” from “student” etc.

But if the person does not identify with either gender, which pronoun should we use? How to inflect nouns and adjectives?

In order to correct this language limitation, the neutral language. This new way of communicating establishes, for example, the pronoun "elu" (as an alternative to “he” and “she). So, when it comes to a non-binary person, the most appropriate way to refer to him is to use neutral language. Ex.: “Is Elu going out with us?”.

“Elu” breaks down into “delu”, “nelu”, “aquelu” etc. Ex.: "Is this backpack delu?".

In the case of inflections in gender, the letter e" replacing the “o” and “a” that mark the genders at the ends of words. E.g.: “teacher”, “student”, “friend”, “girl” etc.

When in doubt about which pronouns to use, the best thing to do is ask the person how they would like to be treated.

Did you like this content? Try reading these too:

  • what is non-binary
  • Understand the difference between cisgender and transgender
  • what is cisgender
  • what is it to be transsexual
  • meaning of gender
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