July 14th is International Non-Binary People's Day

International Non-Binary People's Day has been held each July 14th since 2012 to raise awareness around non-binary people, and of the issues they face around the world.

What is non-binary? 

From an entry in our online glossary: this umbrella term refers to diverse people whose gender identity is neither female nor male. Some individuals self-identify as non-binary, whereas others may use terms such as Gender Non-conforming, Genderqueer, or Agender. Non-binary people may or may not conform to societal expectations for their gender expression and gender role, and they may or may not seek gender-affirming medical or surgical care.

“Some gender non-conforming people are non-binary, and some are men and women. It depends on each person’s experience. Two people can look similar and be completely different genders. Gender is not what people look like to other people; it is what we know ourselves to be. No one else should be able to tell you who you are; that’s for you to decide.”  ― Alok Vaid-Menon, Beyond the Gender Binary

How should I greet a non-binary person? 

Greetings that include gender neutral language such as “friends, folks, you all, and everyone” ensure that you are inclusive of all people when saying hello or in a workplace setting, such as when opening a meeting. Find out more about using gender-inclusive language here.

For International Non-Binary People's Day 2022,  Trans Care BC is profiling non-binary staff members who wished to express their thoughts about what being non-binary means to them, what health-care providers can do to best provide care to non-binary people, and what family, friends, and coworkers can do to practice strong allyship to non-binary people. 

avery (they/them/theirs – Health Navigator)

What does being non-binary mean to you?

To me, being non-binary (genderqueer/gender fluid) is centred around my liberation. Liberation from traditional gender roles and gender expressions, and liberation to be exactly who I authentically am.

Being non-binary gives me the freedom to choose what social and medical transition is right for me without having to fit into anyone else’s expectations or into a binary mould. 
It empowers me to express my gender; it feels right each day and in each moment. Being non-binary gives me the courage and awareness to witness how my gender plays with others around me and to embrace my femininity, masculinity, and androgyny as they show up organically. It also is an avenue through which I experience connection with other people, with animals, and with the Earth. 

Being non-binary is about learning how to recognize and embrace my full queerness and nonconformity in both public and intimate ways.
What can health-care providers do to best provide care to non-binary people? 

One significant way both health-care providers and family, friends, and coworkers can provide allyship to non-binary folks is by practicing on their own time using the pronouns someone has stated they use. I think this is especially true for folks who use they/them pronouns. 

Health-care providers can offer person-centred and patient-centred care, recognizing and promoting that trans/non-binary folks have agency and self-determination regarding their own medical and social transition. 

Health-care providers really need to listen as non-binary folks express what they need and want as gender-affirming care without making assumptions. Both health-care providers and family, friends, and coworkers can take allyship to non-binary folks seriously by doing their own learning rather than solely relying on the work of non-binary people to explain their experiences. 

I am so grateful to be part of the Trans Care BC team because I can contribute to the liberation of fellow 2S, trans, and gender diverse community while working an uplifting and gender-affirming environment.

Have any resources and/or services in B.C. been helpful for you, your loved ones and allies? Where can someone start if they want to learn more?

Folks can start with the online courses that Trans Care BC has developed, as they are fantastic introductory courses and a great way for allies to take their learning seriously on their own. The basic information about gender and transition available on the Trans Care BC website is another excellent resource for folks wanting to learn more.

Building community through peer supports and social media has been a huge part of my journey, and I'm so grateful for the community supports I have built over the last few years since coming out.

Chrissy (they/them/theirs – Health Navigator)

What does being non-binary mean to you?

To me, being non-binary is as much about gender as it is a rejection of the colonial binaries we have been taught to live within. 

Being non-binary is directly related to a refusal to believe in “us” and “them” as a way to separate people from connection. 

Growing up in the north of Ireland, we learned in absolutes and rigid binaries; Catholic/Protestant, North/South, right/wrong, man/woman. Being non-binary allows me to experience the nuance of the in between and refuse to accept the inherent harm that is created from living within binaries.  

Non-binary is a continuum where there is space to explore and learn/love more about myself. 

It gives me options depending how I am feeling a certain day or in a certain context. For me the binary felt like a performance of others expectations, it was separate from how I felt in my body, mind and soul, it felt suffocating. Exploring my non-binary identity and gender expression has allowed me to find a home within myself; a home that is full of bright lipstick with beards, and hoop earrings with sideburns.  

What can health-care providers do to best provide care to non-binary people?

People can support non-binary people by looking inside and exploring your own gender, find out what is a performance for others and what is a part of you. 

Learning from your own experience is one of the most powerful tools we have. 

We are all learning and no one came into the world knowing what gender is. 

Have any resources and/or services in B.C. been helpful for you, your loved ones and allies? Where can someone start if they want to learn more?

The non-binary and trans community has been the biggest resource for me. My mind is constantly expanding to the possibilities of what non-binary means to me from what I learn from community. One person who has been an inspiration to me about liberation and compassion through being non-binary is Alok Vaid-Menon: 

“We want a world where boys can feel, girls can lead, and the rest of us can not only exist but thrive. This is not about erasing men and women but rather acknowledging that man and woman are two of many—stars in a constellation that do not compete but amplify one another’s shine.”  - Alok Vaid-Menon, Beyond the Gender Binary

For more information

If you're part of trans and non-binary communities or want to be a better ally, there are many ways that you can commemorate International Non-Binary People's Day.

SOURCE: July 14th is International Non-Binary People's Day ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2023 Provincial Health Services Authority