The Binary and Nonbinary Genders

While there is a binary consisting of zeros and ones, this is not the binary I am here to tell you about today (though there are parallels). This Terminology Tuesday I want to talk about the gender binary.

The gender binary is a system in which there are only two rigidly defined genders. These genders are male and female. In the gender binary system, there is no straying from one or the other. The two genders are generally coupled with an equally rigid idea of masculinity and femininity, respectively.

The LGBTQ+ community (for the most part) recognizes this as a very limiting way to view gender, especially because of the existence of nonbinary gender identities.

Nonbinary gender identities encompass all genders which are not male or female. These include, but are certainly not limited to, bigender, third gender, and androgyne. These identities do not conform to the rigidity of the gender binary.

Growing up with a nonbinary identity can be a difficult thing to do, especially in a place where the binary is the norm. If you have a story, experience, or piece of advice you would like to share, or anything else you would like to add, feel free to leave a comment, contact me directly, or find us on Twitter.

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