Melissa Vital ('23)


In the term “LGBTQ+,” as it is often written, a wide variety of identities can be represented by the “+” symbol affixed at the end. One major group of people included in the LGBTQIA2+ community through this marker is that of non-binary individuals. Non-binary is a gender identity held by people whose gender does not align concretely with either male or female. People who identify as non-binary may identify as non-binary only, while others may use non-binary alongside other terms. Many non-binary people consider themselves transgender, and many associate with specific forms of non-binary gender, such as agender (having no gender) or bigender (identifying with both the male and female genders.) Another useful term to know is “androgynous,” which is often used to refer to physical appearance (or other traits) that appears neither male nor female.

Non-binary people can have a diverse range of experiences when it comes to how they express and live with their gender. Some people may choose to change their names, physical appearances, bodies, or other aspects of their lives in order to reflect their identity; others may make no changes at all. There is no one way to be non-binary, and it is important to treat all people’s forms of expression with respect.

Notably, many non-binary people may ask to be referred to by different pronouns than were previously used in reference to them. This may include the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them/theirs,” neopronouns such as “ze/zir/zirs,” different combinations of pronouns like “she/her/hers” and “he/him/his,” or various other options. Along with the use of preferred names, correct pronoun usage can be incredibly important to non-binary people in affirming their identity and supporting their mental health.

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