A non-binary person is someone who does not feel at home in the male or female binary gender categories and who feels better about another, non-binary, gender identity. This is sometimes expressed in gender expression, by combining or just rejecting male and female characteristics. However, gender identity and gender expression are not necessarily linked to each other. You cannot always read a person's gender identity from their gender expression.
Non-binary is an "umbrella term". There are different terms for gender identities that are outside the binary gender model; "Genderqueer", "gender-non-conforming", "agender", "genderfluid", "bigender". These gender identities have in common that they are outside the binary gender norm (male-female), but they sometimes differ subtly from each other.
How do you address someone who is non-binary
Our language only knows the male or female form of address. Recently activists have been trying to introduce the terms for non-binary persons. The current binary pronouns he/she, him/her, his/her get company of they, them and their.
How often does gender non-binarity occur?
Since the increasing attention for "non-binary" within the gender spectrum, many people who used to feel forced to choose between "man or woman" have been given more freedom. Someone who used to be regarded as a transgender, but only longed for a partial gender adjustment, was previously not eligible for medical treatment. Anyone who made the decision in the direction of medical treatment, therefore, had to go "all the way". As a result, a number of gender non-binary persons were previously mistakenly labeled as trans men or trans women.
Recently, scientific and clinical attention for the group has increased considerably. As a result, there is more information about how many people in the transgender world identify themselves as non-binary. The two largest samples ever taken from transgender respondents indicate that about one in three of all transgender people describe themselves as non-binary.
The living conditions of gender non-binary people
Gender non-binary persons often lack role models, examples in which they can identify themselves. This makes it difficult to continue to believe in oneself and to hold on to a choice beyond being male or female. Feeling accepted and appreciated by the people around you is of great importance to each of us. It is the lubricating oil of our engine. For example, research into the satisfaction of gender-based treatment of trans people has already demonstrated on several occasions that support from people around you is crucial. This applies equally, if not even more, to gender non-binary persons. After all, in our culture people still think in terms of men or women, a specific dichotomy. This can give gender non-binary persons the feeling that they do not feel recognized in their identity between men and women, that they feel permanently pushed into the box male or female.
Non binary and care
That non-binary persons do not want care is a misconception. The desire for (partial) body changes can be just as well present with non-binary persons as with "binary" trans people. However, they may experience very specific obstacles that make their access to care centers more difficult. They are often unknown to or misunderstood by care providers, which can lead to a refusal to provide trans care. As a social worker it is therefore very important to deal with this consciously and to approach non-binary individuals in a customized way.
The ultimate goal of any transition must come down to being primarily oneself. Whether that is male, female, something in between or both, is in principle of secondary importance. As long as one has the feeling that everything is right, one feels comfortable in his/her /their skin and also feels appreciated by the other. In short, the crucial fact is that gender complaints or the gender dysphoria disappear and that you have found your own comfort zone.