Identifying as Non- Binary…

I am one of 0.4% (which is 1 in 250 people) who identify as non-binary in the UK.

Gender identity is the gender that someone feels they are internally. This is something that is deeply personal to them, it is in fact self-defined. Therefore, the definitions of gender identities may not be the same for all people who may use the same word to describe their gender identity.

Gender identity is, in my opinion, a spectrum along which every gender identity fits and where every person can place themselves. I identify as gender neutral. This means that I identify as neither male or female, but instead regard gender as a societal and social construct that I wish not to partake in; essentially having no gender. This is not to say that the concept of gender is bad, but just to say that I don’t agree with it. My gender identity is different to both my biological sex (the sex I was assigned with at birth) and sexual orientation.

I use a preferred name which is not yet my legal name and use ‘they, their, them’ pronouns. I will be legally changing my name at some point in the future, but not after settling on a name and using it and the pronouns above for a while. I will be changing my legal gender as well, to non-binary in the future, when government legally recognises non-binary gender identities, which unfortunately, they have not yet.

Gender expression is the way that someone expresses their gender identity, which is affected by the way that people interact with them, for example, through the clothes that they wear. I express my gender through traditionally feminine cloths and make up, but I still enjoy wearing men’s formal wear, for example black tie, which is fabulous. Someone’s gender expression is personal to them, and therefore it is important not to assume someone’s gender identity or pronouns from how they express themselves. Please, if in doubt just ask.

Every day I face challenges; the most common is someone’s confusion about what my gender identity is, mostly due to a lack of understanding.

I also face gender dysphoria, which can be defined as “a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity” To put this in a less clinical context, imagine walking around with a great weight on your shoulders, that only you can see and feel. It saps your strength and makes it a challenge to carry out day to day tasks. Other people don’t know it’s there and when you want to speak about it, you can’t because you think that people will not understand it. This is how gender dysphoria makes me feel every day. Dysphoria also affects everyone differently and so be sensitive to individual people’s experiences and how dysphoria affects them.

As regards to my transition, I identify as a gender neutral female. To rephrase this, I identify as non-binary, but I wish to undergo a transition to become biologically female (through hormones, legal name changes and surgery). Unfortunately, this takes time and due to the government not legally recognising non-binary people are not legally recognised. Therefore, whilst I will be able to transition, I would have to transition from male to female, not male to non-binary female. This is because currently my non-binary gender identity is not recognised until the government changes the relevant legislation.

Who not What member, 19, Herts




Being me.

I’m a 19-year-old guy from Hertfordshire who likes pizza, puppies and playing video games. I also happen to be trans and that is only a small part of my identity.

Growing up, I always felt a little different from everyone else, like I didn’t fit in but I certainly didn’t know I was trans. It seems the idea of ‘always knowing’ is prevalent in the trans community and, don’t get me wrong, I think kids knowing and feeling comfortable in their identities from a young age is amazing but it just isn’t the case for all of us and that’s ok. Every trans experience is different.

My first conscious questioning of gender was a few years ago when I was watching TV. I saw an androgynous person, who identified as a lesbian and I remember thinking to myself, “That seems like it would be so much better… no expectations, just being.” It planted a seed for me and so I came out as lesbian. But it still wasn’t quite right for me and in 2016, after reading up online I decided I needed to transition.

With every change- name, clothes, pronouns, hormones- I became happier and more confident in myself. The knots that had been in my stomach for as long as I could remember came undone; my social anxiety started to fade. I found an inner peace that I never knew was possible. Let’s just say, if it wasn’t for transition, I wouldn’t be up here right now.

While I can look back now and see clues that make sense (the characters in books and games that I identified with most were almost exclusively male) I never explicitly identified as a girl, I just didn’t know there was any alternative and I’ve found this to be a pretty common experience in the trans community. I think that’s why it’s so important to speak out and share experiences.

In terms of what you can do, it’s not that difficult to ask a person what pronoun they prefer but it can make a world of difference. The most important thing when meeting any trans person is to listen to them, and if you’re not sure about anything just ask. We’d much rather you ask than get it wrong in the first place. Besides, we’re not that scary!

Ash, 19, Herts