Genderqueer vs non-binary (differences that matter)

In this blog post, we talk about genderqueer vs non-binary. We’ll help you understand better the differences between the two concepts.

Genderqueer vs non-binary, is it the same?

Genderqueer and non-binary identities can and often overlap with each other. And, there is a certain amount of debate about what the difference between the two really is.

Non-binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female.

Genderqueer often describes a special experience under this umbrella, which may include the feeling that a person’s sex is fluid.

But for a long time, the genderqueer identity was open to all those which did not “define” the term gender. This means that anyone who does things that are outside the norm of their gender identity is real or perceived.

Many of us do things that are not considered “normal” for people of our gender identity, so under this second framework, genderqueer could actually be a much larger umbrella than non-binary.

Because genderqueer embodies weirdness, and because weird identity has specific political roots, there may be some bent policy to identify as genderqueer as someone who is nonbinary may or may not share.

As always, it’s up to each person to determine which of these terms works best for them.

I identify with genderqueer the term so much more fluid gender or nonconformist gender, or even really with nonbinary, although I do use that term sometimes when we talk about my identity,” someone said. “I prefer genderqueer because it feels like it leaves me open to everyday interpretations, which is how I feel about my sex. I feel different day in and day out, so sometimes certain terms fit and sometimes they don’t, but genderqueer kind of always fits.

Because of the confusion people have between grandqueer and non-binary, they ask questions like Am I non-binary?

What does it mean to be genderqueer?

Genderqueer is a gender identity that is built around the term “queer.”

To be queer is to exist in a way that does not align with heterosexual or homosexual norms.

Although it is usually used to describe a person’s sexual orientation, it can also be used to express nonbinary gender identity.

A “queer” gender can fall apart, fall between or fluctuate between the binary gender categories of male and female.

People who are genderqueer often experience their gender as a fluid, which means they can move and change at any time.

Genderqueer can also describe a position of interrogating someone’s gender identity over a period of time or in a continuous way.

Not only is it one of the most common identities under the transgender umbrella, but younger generations are also increasingly identifying as genderqueer.

Understanding gender as a spectrum

In order to really make sense of what genderqueer means, it is important to remember that gender is not always black and white.

There are two parts to our sexes. Gender identity is the way you identify, whether as a man, a woman, or something else entirely.

Gender expression is the way you express yourself and present yourself in terms of masculinity and femininity.

Although we have often been taught that man and woman are two completely different categories, both gender identity and gender expression exist across a spectrum.

People can identify more closely with being male or female, or they can fall anywhere between the two categories.

Also, a person can identify more with masculine expression, feminine expression, or both. They can also identify somewhere in the middle, or they can switch between the two on any given day.

People who are genderqueer can also present and express themselves in any number of different ways.

A person who does not need to look androgynous or act in a way that is neither masculine nor feminine to be genderqueer, although they can do so if they feel entitled to them. It is about how a person understands their own personal gender identity.

Different identities that fall into the genderqueer category

There are a number of different identities that fall outside the male and female categories and potentially under the genderqueer umbrella.

Such identities include:

  • agender
  • Bigender
  • Pangender
  • gene fluid
  • Androgynous
  • Neutrois
  • demigender

People who are genderqueer can only identify as genderqueer and something else. For example, a person may identify as a trans genderqueer woman or a bigender androgynous genderqueer person.

Transgender people can also identify as genderqueer and vice versa. Some genderqueer people choose to undergo social, legal, or medical transitions, including taking hormones, changing their name, or having surgery to assert and express themselves in a way congruent with their gender identity.

Genderqueer pronouns

Genderqueer people can and do use many different pronouns, including gender pronouns, such as he/she/it and she/they.

There are also those that are more gender-neutral pronouns. One of the most common is:  them.

One might be taught in grammar class that using “they” as a singular pronoun is incorrect. But, we do it all the time in our daily speech.

For example, if your friend gets a phone call and I don’t know who was on the line, you might be wondering, “Why did they call you?” Making the adjustment to using the singular “they” is as simple as that!

Some people have also created their own gender-neutral pronouns. These include pronouns, such as Hir / hirs, which you use in the same way he/she/it or she/they use.

Some genderqueer people prefer not to use pronouns at all, instead of being mentioned, simply by name in situations where a pronoun could be used in another way.

Others may ask you to use different pronouns depending on how they feel on a given day.

And, still, others can be opened using any pronoun and require you to switch between several different pronouns when referring to them.

The best thing to do if you are not sure what someone’s pronoun is being asked is!

What does it mean to be non-binary?

The term non-binary is used by individuals who do not identify as men or women. In other words, they find themselves on a fluid spectrum between the terms man and woman. 

Non-binary, in essence, is the term used for those who do not identify with the gender to which they were assigned at birth.

For this reason, many non-binary people consider themselves part of the trans or LGBT community.

Someone who is not binary does not see himself as a man or a woman specifically. This is a very broad way of saying that these people do not see themselves in the way society said they should be.

A non-binary person may also struggle with sexual orientation and may even consider it transgender so that their body reflects what is most closely identified with sex.

A term used to describe a relationship between two non-binary people is Diamoric.

Living as a non-binary person

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, being non-binary can come with its challenges. Many people do not understand exactly what it is and some even refuse to acknowledge that it exists.

For these reasons, non-binaries can change your whole life. Once you realize exactly what it means, you will be faced with challenges that other people will never think of. 

Truth is, in the beginning, people don’t believe in it. This changes your life for many different reasons.

For one, people who don’t believe you when you say you’re not a man or a woman will only make it hard for you and make you feel bad.

They usually raise their eyebrows in confusion and give their day as if you were just excusing the nonsense of not identifying either sex.

This will make you feel upset and you will avoid telling people – which suffocates your need to be understood.

People will think you just want attention. This is one of the most annoying things about society today.

They believe that anyone who claims not to be binary is just looking for attention because it is a hot topic in today’s world of controversy.

Some people think it’s just a phase. This is another thing that will stop you to the end. People will more or less ignore you when you try to tell them that they are non-binary because they will think that it is just something you are going through now and not a serious problem.

Some may have the courage to tell you that it is just a phase and you will get out of it. Those people don’t have to be in your life.

Therefore, you may end up cutting some people in your life who choose not to recognize who you are.

You will feel misunderstood. This is the biggest challenge. If all your life you have managed to reach people and talk to them about everything and be understood and then come out as non-binary, suddenly no one really understands you.

Being non-binary can be very difficult because for the rest of your life you have been dropped into a certain category and you can’t even choose any of the categories as one “because it’s not what you feel”.

This can make you feel like you don’t belong, and that’s a little life-changing because when you don’t feel like you’re included in life, you feel alone and left out. It can make you withdrawn and less likely to engage with other people.

However, being non-binary is not something that someone chooses, but rather it is at a deeper level. It has the ability to change your life in many ways!

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we talked about genderqueer vs non-binary. 

Genderqueer and non-binary identities can and often overlap with each other. And, there is a certain amount of debate about what the difference between the two really is.

Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female.

Genderqueer often describes a special experience under this umbrella, which may include the feeling that a person’s sex is fluid.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

FAQ about Genderqueer vs non-binary

Is genderqueer the same as non-binary?

No, genderqueer and non-binary identities are not the same.

Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female.

Genderqueer often describes a special experience under this umbrella, which may include the feeling that a person’s sex is fluid.

What is the difference between Genderfluid and non-binary?

Gender fluidity is a gender identity that can change over time and you have the feeling that you do not have a defined gender.

Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female. 

What is the difference between binary and Nonbinary?

Binary means having two-parts/identities/genders (male and female).

Non- binary tends to be used as more of a catchall for people who do not identify with the binary categories of male and female. 

What is a pansexual person?

A pansexual person, or pansexuality, is sexual attraction or desire, romantic love or emotional attraction to people of all kinds, regardless of gender, nationality, social status or religion.

How many genders are there now?

There are 5 genders now: male, female, hermaphrodite, female pseudohermaphroditism and male pseudohermaphroditism. 

Further reading

Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality, by  Jerrold S. Greenberg

Diversity in Couple and Family Therapy: Ethnicities, Sexualities, and Socioeconomics, by Shalonda Kelly

Identities and Inequalities: Exploring the Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality (B&b Sociology) by David Newman 

Just Your Type: Create the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type, by Paul D. Tieger 

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.

References

Asexuality.org

Apa.org

Genderqueerid.com

nonbinary.wiki/

Was this post helpful?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]