Gender Binary: What Is It in 2023 And Why Voices Matter For Inclusivity

6 Mins Read sibashree bhattacharya 25 Oct 2023
Gender Binary

“There’s a coke for him and she and her and me and them.”

Do you remember this Coke ad broadcasted during the 2018 Super Bowl? Did it hit you? Were you trying to fathom the meaning? The ad tried to defy the gender binary and harped on inclusivity.

Also, last weekend, I was going through a New York Times article published around 6 years ago. It portrayed the interaction of a gender non-binary person with “their” therapist and how “they” struggle.

Further, Beyond the Gender Binary Author Alok Vaid-Menon has unveiled the mystery or myths around the concept of non-binary and binary gender.

Even today, the term “gender non-binary” is a very niche term. We think or pretend to know it when there is still a thick veil of mist in our heads. 

It’s true the market and marketing have changed. It’s natural to capitalize on social leaps. But that does not change the fact that we need a thorough understanding of the issue for better inclusivity. 

So, let’s be the voice of action and start from the basics.

What Is Binary Gender? 

What Is Binary Gender

The gender binary is a conventional or societal idea that divides the entire human community into two halves. To put it simply, you have to be either a man or a woman in your gender. 

The binary gender idea also comes with certain levels. There are gender roles and stereotypes for how to be a woman and a man. 

In this context, it’s also important to clarify the difference between sex and gender. Sex is something that a child is “assigned at birth.” It’s the genitals you have got.

On the other hand, gender is what your internal self tells. If you identify yourself as a man, your gender is male. Similarly, I identify myself as a woman. So, my gender is a woman. 

Now, gender is of two types. Suppose your “sex assigned at birth” is female, and you also identify yourself as a woman. Then, you are a cisgender person.

However, if the “sex assigned at your birth” and your gender don’t match, you will fall under the transgender category. 

These are the fundamental points to understand to know what binary gender is.

What Is Non-Binary Gender?

What Is Non-Binary Gender

Non-binary stands on the opposite side of binary gender. The National Center for Transgender Equality calls a person non-binary when they don’t identify themselves as male or female exclusively. The pronouns for a non-binary person are “they,” “them,” and “their.”

However, with time, the gender binary has become an umbrella term. It has taken all the genders that don’t fit into this conventional binary structure. Some of these identities are:

  • Multigender
  • Bigender
  • Queer
  • Agender
  • Gender-fluid
  • Boi
  • Androgynous

Non Binary Vs Gender Fluid: It’s Time To End Confusions

There is always an ongoing debate, and many people think that non-binary and gender fluid are synonymous. However, there is a subtle difference.

Non binary people do not “exclusively” want them to be identified with “men” or “women.” On the other hand, gender-fluid persons can identify themselves with both men and women. So, there is a fluidity in gender identity. 

Is Demigender Same As Non-Binary Gender?

Yes, the term demigender often refers to the umbrella of non-binary. However, at its core, it means the gender identity of a person who feels partially closer to an identity.

If you partially identify yourself as a girl/woman, you are a demigirl. Other identities included in this umbrella are demifluid and demiboy.

I know, the definitions are not easy to fathom, and it is even difficult to accept. Further, things become tougher to be inclusive toward people who identify themselves as non-binary or demigender. 

So, we need to get into how the gender binary can be transformed into gender equity

How Can Gender Binary Take A Road Toward Gender Equity?

How Can Gender Binary Take A Road Toward Gender Equity

Before I get into the roadmap toward gender equity, I want to touch on certain aspects of this non-binary gender identity. 

Non-binary identities have been there for centuries and have been recognized recently. Only when a non-binary person feels closer to a specific gender they can undergo surgery. 

Being transgender does not essentially mean being non-binary. Some transgender people can be non-binary, and others are definite about how they want to be treated or identified. 

There is a difference between being intersex and non-binary. Intersex people are born with anatomy or genes different from a male or female assigned at birth. And mostly, intersex people can identify themselves with a specific gender identity. 

Unless you are living under the stone, you must be aware of the resistance and struggles to be included in this non-binary gender umbrella. 

So, it’s crucial to have a roadmap that takes us toward gender equity.

Learning Is The Only Way Out, My Friend 

Gender equity means creating equal space for every gender. It’s not possible for you to have a complete picture of all gender identities.

But if you are someone looking for equity, you have to be a student throughout your life. The process is like a learning and unlearning circle.

Information will help you to build a positive mind frame and be embracing. 

One good resource in this context is “Beyond the Gender Binary.” 

Reflect On Yourself

If the idea of gender non-binary makes you uncomfortable, dig inward and ask yourself the reason. Only when you ask questions will you be able to face and overcome the discomforts. Having a phobia or resistance toward the non-binary concept will not make an inclusive scenario.

Be Careful About The Language

The problem with us is that we either end up being unnecessarily coy or hateful. There are always extremes and no middle ground. 

Let me give you a small example: when addressing a group, you can always use addresses like “people, folks, or humans” instead of “guys,” “queens,” or “darlings.” 

This makes non-binary people more comfortable as you are not implying a gender specifically. 

You Don’t Have To Understand What Non-Binary Is To Be Inclusive

It’s okay if you don’t understand what it is to be like a non-binary person. Nobody is expecting that from you.

You have to be just respectful or accepting. 

The beauty of the human race is in variety. 

Allow People To Be Comfortable In Their Identity 

You can use your privilege and position to make people with non-binary identities comfortable. It can be a great practice at personal and professional levels.

So, before you address someone, send an invitation, or create a business card, ask the pronouns they are comfortable with.

It is not a very common practice. However, once you start doing it, everyone else around you will follow it. 

Final Words 

Inclusivity is the key if you want to grow as a person or society wants to take a step forward. So, it’s time to take charge and make sure that we are taking small but steady steps toward gender equity.

Three things are crucial in this context: community, representation, and dignity.”

So, it does not always take big movements to initiate the changes. Why don’t you voice your mind and act on creating a more inclusive scenario?

It’s time to act, adapt, respect, and embrace!

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Sibashree has been into SEO and eCommerce content writing for more than 9 years. She loves reading books and is a huge fan of those over-the-top period dramas. Her favorite niches are fashion, lifestyle, beauty, traveling, relationships, women's interests, and movies. The strength of her writing lies in thorough research backing and an understanding of readers’ pain points.

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