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Ask a Transperson | Considering the non-binary

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This is the inaugural entry of “Ask a Transperson,” a temporary blog by News columnist Iden Crockett slated to run through the end of April.  Crockett announced the blog in her regular News column, “My Name is Iden,” as a “space dedicated to answering your questions” about what it means to be trans — from Crockett’s perspective.

Check this space on Thursdays through April 27 for future entries.


Iden, Hello.

Are you answering questions for the whole group under the umbrella term of “non-binary” or only those identifying as transgender? People get confused and think all non-binary persons always means transgender and it can be difficult to explain to those who don’t know or understand. A person can feel alone trying to explain. Can you explain the variations of meaning for the term non-binary (aka NB, enby)?

Thank you!


I want to start by thanking you for asking this. The queer community is bursting with terminology and slang and we like to get very specific with our identities. For instance, I identify as a non-binary, trans-feminine pansexual. It can be confusing, maybe even intimidating, to get your head around and, of course, the last thing anyone wants to do is offend. For simplicity’s sake, I use transgender woman or person with the public.

I have always felt that there was a bit of a gray zone when it comes to non-binary individuals. I know that there are some enby folks out there that do not consider themselves to be transgender. I know some do, but feel misrepresented by the blanket term “transgender” because it still implies a binary.

I can only speak for myself here, but I consider being non-binary as equivalent to being transgender. My reasoning for that is both semantical and sociological. I read the word “transgender” as meaning: one who has crossed from one place on the gender spectrum to another. I understand gender to exist along a line demarcated by 100% female or male on either side and 100% neither — or non-binary — in the center. All three and every place in-between are perfectly valid and real identities. Until we as a society stop assigning people a gender at birth, existing in the center of the spectrum will require the individual to transition from the place they were assigned to the place they feel fits. That would make all enby folks transgender as well.

Nothing is as simple as that, though. People are so varied and identities are very nuanced. That is why I personally prefer the term “trans-feminine” to describe myself, because I think it puts me between 100% woman and fully non-binary.

When speaking about gender, I try to make specific mention of non-binary people alongside my mention of transgendered people. I often say things like, “all my trans and enby friends…” etc. This way, I am acknowledging that full spectrum of souls existing at and between the poles.

I hope that helps.

Until we meet again,

Know yourself, be yourself, show yourself and free yourself.

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