Being nonbinary means being a person whose sexual identity doesn’t correspond to female or male, who defines themselves outside the man-woman duality. Some people might also talk about being neuter gender, neuter sex, genderfluid, bigender, trigender, pangender, non-gender , etc.
Male or female gender?
When we talk about gender, we’re talking about roles that are determined socially: behaviours, activities, and attributes that our society considers to be appropriate for men and for women. A person who defines themselves as nonbinary is someone who has decided not to identify in this way and not to correspond to what is associated with being a man or a woman.
Nothing to do with what you’ve got in your underpants
For people who define themselves as nonbinary, what they’ve got in their underpants – in other words, their genitals – doesn’t mean that they feel they belong to a particular sex. In fact, some people feel that they’re somewhere between the two, whereas others see themselves as belonging to a neuter sex or a third sex.
It’s not the same as being trans
People who define themselves as nonbinary don’t feel they were “born in the wrong body,” as a trans person might say. They generally like their bodies and don’t necessarily want to change them.
It also means refusing to accept that there are only 2 poles
Nonbinary people refuse male and female stereotypes but they go farther than that. They cast doubt on the view that there are only 2 sexes for people to define themselves as: either man/male or woman/female. For example, take sexual orientation. First people thought that there were 2 well-defined options: either a person is homosexual or else they’re heterosexual… but now we realize that, between those 2 poles, there are infinite possibilities and shades. The same is true for people who define themselves as nonbinary, or of neuter gender or sex.
There are many ways to open yourself up to diversity and encourage the inclusion of nonbinary people. These could include gender-neutral (unisex) washrooms, the possibility of choosing a common first name, etc.