Non-binaryphobia is discrimination and prejudice against people who identify their gender outside the male/female binary.
It’s sometimes referred to as ‘enbyphobia’ or simply incorporated into ‘transphobia’. But could we benefit from making it something we talk about as a separate issue?
Non-binary identities are included within the transgender umbrella. But not all non-binary people identify themselves as trans or favour the term ‘enby’.
I’ve started to wonder if a more inclusive term would help bring to light the nuances of non-binary discrimination.
The legal challenges, barriers to accessing healthcare and stigma and prejudice that non-binary people face can differ from those faced by other trans people.
Sometimes these differences are subtle, and sometimes they are significant, but they are definitely real.
A petition signed by 136,000 people to include non-binary gender identities within the Gender Recognition Act was dismissed by the UK government in 2021.
They released a statement deeming it ‘too complex’ - even though many countries worldwide already allow third genders or ‘X’ markers on passports. This decision is an example of non-binaryphobia at play at the highest level.
At the beginning of my transition, I was advised by trans friends not to mention my non-binary gender when contacting the gender identity clinic.
They said it would increase the likelihood of being granted medical care if I kept that particular aspect of my experience to myself.
Many of my friends have experienced a complete lack of non-binary inclusivity or awareness among gender identity specialists in the UK.
Five years into my medical transition, having held that advice in mind throughout, I have a strong case for accessing a Gender Recognition Certificate as a man. It may be a privilege, but it’s not my truth.
Despite having facial hair and a preference for buying clothes in the ‘men’s’ section, the fact that I am not a man seems a wildly difficult concept for people to understand.
Passing as a certain gender is based on the assumptions of other people. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we worked towards a world that validates gender diversity by respecting people’s self-expression and individuality?
I have taken to TikTok to speak up about my non-binary identity, which has sparked a barrage of hate. It also exposed some prejudice against non-binary folk from within the trans community.
One trans person told me I was ‘mocking the transgender community’, and another accused non-binary people of ‘f-ing up the trans community’.
I’ve been called a heterosexual man, a woman, an attention seeker, told I’m just having a millennial moment and berated for not revelling in my passing privilege.
One thing I acknowledge is how quiet my life has become since I started presenting as I do today. However, I also recognise the value in challenging common perceptions and the system that creates gender stereotypes in the first place.
Non-binary people have always existed. It’s just in recent history that stories of gender diversity have been silenced.
I wonder if the time is right to start using non-binaryphobia as a separate term. It could help generate action to address the distinct issues non-binary people face while giving them the recognition and respect they deserve.
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