Non-Binary Peoples Day and Non-Binary Awareness Week
When Is Non-Binary Peoples Day & Awareness Week
International Non-Binary Peoples Day was originally founded in 2012 as a time to celebrate and raise awareness of those who do not fit within the traditional gender binary. It’s celebrated every year on July 14th, with Non-Binary Awareness week wrapped around it. In 2023 it’ll be from July 10th to the 16th. The timing is important as it falls exactly halfway between International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day.
What Does It Mean To Be Non-Binary
Non-binary, also sometimes known as Enby, is an umbrella term for people who do not exclusively identify as the male or female genders. Non-binary identities are extremely varied and people may identify as both male and female, or as primarily, but not exclusively, male or female or others may reject the binary genders entirely and identify outside of them.
As a result the use of pronouns by Enby people is also varied, depending on how they identify. While some may still include some gendered pronouns, many adopt neutral pronouns, the most common of which is they/them/their. But alternatives to these would be xe/xem/xyr or zie/zim/zir or ey/em/eir. The title for non-binary people that would replace Mr/Miss/Mrs etc is usually Mx.
Although Non-binary people have by definition identified as a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth, not all Enby people also identify as trans. So it’s important to be sensitive to the way each person identifies.
While some Enby people may wish to dress in a unisex way or to throw away the rules and mix and match items from different genders there is no way to ‘look’ Non-binary. And the way Enby people express their gender may still align visually with the gender they were assigned at birth. Your gender identity can often be completely separate to your gender expression and it’s important not to judge people based on their clothing. Saying “well you don’t look non-binary,” is extremely unhelpful and may alienate you from an Enby person.
Why Is It Important to Raise Awareness Of Non-Binary People
Navigating a world in which you are constantly confronted by and forced into pathways that make you feel alienated and excluded is exhausting and isolating.
For example, very few countries recognise Non-binary as a legal gender, which means most Non-binary people still have a gendered passport and official identification. And that means that every form of official documentation is gendered.
Imagine if you are a cisgendered man, for example, and websites only included woman as an option. If official documents made you select female as a gender because male wasn’t available. Now reflect for a moment how excluded that would make you feel.
That may give you a shred of understanding about the lived experience of Non-Binary people, and maybe you can start to see how easy it is for Enby people to feel isolated and alone in a gendernormative society.
While there have certainly been huge steps forward in inclusivity in some Western nations, these have been made by those who embrace change and inclusivity. However, those who are unable to change to include others, who are on the political right or in fundamentalist religious groups have shown increasing intolerance recently. This has grown to the point of aggression and in some cases violence.
It’s therefore critical that Non-binary people are able to rally around a moment to campaign for inclusivity. And are able to see others who think, feel and have the same lived experiences as they do. In fact it can be life saving. And it’s of utmost importance that Emby people feel seen, understood and included.
Anyone who identifies within the LGBTQ+ community needs to be able to feel safe as who we are. To tell our authentic, diverse, and personal stories that reflect who we are and the challenges we face.
So we should celebrate the lives, achievements and contributions of non-binary people around the world. It also provides an opportunity to showcase positive representation of real people from within the community. That kind of Enby affirmation & empowerment is so important.
Many in the community also use it to come out and declare their identity publicly, especially those in the public eye, because it’s critical for everyone to see we’re proud to be who we are, and it’s important to have role models. But it’s also important to acknowledge that due to discrimination or personal circumstances, not everyone can or wants to be visible.
It's also a time to raise awareness of discrimination towards the Non-Binary community. The culture wars on transgender people have included Enby people. And the increasing levels of transphobia in the media and around the world power an uplift in hate.
We have witnessed right wing political parties, governments and state legislatures feel emboldened to state their opposition to LGBTQ+ lives, financed and powered by the insidious ideologies of extremist religious groups and the disparate collections of far right organisations.
So this year Non-Binary Peoples Day feels like it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted. To raise the voices of Non-Binary people and say enough.
Check Out our non-binary range
Some Non-binary Instagramers To Follow
Alok Vaid-Menon - Poet, comedian,speaker, author
Meg Emiko Lee - Asian American trans non-binary artist and activist
Dee Whitnell - Creator of fun and easy to consume content
Mx Oscar Davies - Barrister, activist creating resources for non-binary/trans law
Jamie Windust - Author, editor, broadcaster, model
Sam Oliver - Educator
Jeffrey Marsh - author, activist, public speaker, life coach
Umber Ghauri - makeup artist, writer, model, public speaker
Ace Schwarz - Science teacher who’s insta is full of awesome fun Emby content
Some Great Books By Non-Binary Authors
They Them Their: A Guide To Non-binary & Genderqueer Identities by Eris Young
Not Him or Her: A Quick Guide to Understanding Non-binary Pronouns by Michelle Mann
Beyond The Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon
In Their Shoes by Jamie Windust
Non-binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities Edited by Jos Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker and Kat Gupta
The Book of Non-binary Joy by Ben Pechey
Working with Autistic Transgender and Non-Binary People: Research, Practice and Experience Edited by Marianthi Kourti
Non-binary Memoirs of Gender and Identity Edited by Micah Rajunov & Scott Duane
Non-Binary Pride Flag
First seen in 1999 and designed by Kye Rowan the non-binary pride flag includes four stripes with the yellow representing being outside of the traditional gender identities, white for people who see themselves as having many genders (as this is the combination of all colours). The purple stripe represents fluidity of gender and those whose gender sits between male and female and black represents people who are agender (as black is the absence of colour).
Gender symbols are glyphs that were originally created by botanist Carl Linnaeus in the 16th century as a way to denote the gender of flowers. The original ones were male and female but symbols for those on the sexuality and gender spectrums have become popular.
Many non-binary people have adopted a symbol that consists of a circle, a straight line sprouting from the top, and an “X” at the end of it. The ‘X’ represents Non-binary in pronouns and titles, with the Mx title being cited as one motivating factor and another being the ‘X’ that some counties are adopting as a marker for gender non-conformity in passports.
What Other Identities Fall Under The Non-Binary Umbrella
There are many, but a few of the more common ones are:
Agender – either not having a gender or being gender neutral (See our blog on what it means to be Agender)
Bi-gender – having aspects of more than one gender, either at different times or at the same time
Gender-fluid – having a gender identity that changes over time
Gender-queer – this can be used as an umbrella term for non-binary identities or can be used as a gender identity itself
Demigirl - a gender where a person partially identifies as a woman or with feminine characteristics
Demiboy - a gender where a person partially identifies as a man or with male characteristics
How Can Non-Binary People Get Involved
Non-binary people can be posting on your social media about your experiences, showing selfies and videos of your real lives and telling your stories about the issues you face, your achievements and what makes you joyful. Making yourselves visible. Celebrating who you are. Here’s what else you can do:
- Uplift other Non-binary voices in social media by retweeting or reposting.
- Tweet and post on instagram using the hashtags #nonbinaryawarenessweek, #nonbinarypeoplesday or #enbyawarenessweek.
- Organise Non-Binary Awareness Week or Non-Binary Peoples Day events at work and, if you’re not comfortable with public speaking, invite articulate Non-binary advocates or activists to talk. Educate people about the community and the issues you face.
- Wear your t-shirts or clothing with Non-binary flags on or with your pronouns on.
How Can Cisgendered People Support Non-Binary Awareness Week
- Learn about Non-binary identities by reading the books listed above or by seeking out online resources that tell you first hand accounts of the challenges Enby people face.
- It’s important to uplift the voices of Non-binary people, so talk to Enby friends or acquaintances and listen properly to their stories about their lived experiences.
- Follow, like, and repost the Non-binary people you encounter on social media.
- Always ask someone's pronouns if you don’t know them, and make sure you use the ones they tell you. Never assume. If you make a mistake and misgender them, correct yourself immediately and apologise. NEVER just pretend it didn’t happen.
- At work make sure you support Enby colleagues and vocally advocate for Non-binary supportive policies and practices.
- Introduce yourself with your name and pronouns when you meet new people, to help normalise this behaviour and put those who wish to express different pronouns at ease.
How Can Businesses Get Involved in Non-Binary Peoples Day
There are a number of things you can do, depending on the size of your business.
Tell your workforce that you are an inclusive company and support Non-binary people alongside other LGBTQ+ employees. But this must be supported by actions.
At a basic level you must ensure that you have a strong anti-discrimination policy when it comes to Non-binary people. Make sure all staff know what is not tolerated. And if gender bullying or discrimination does happen act on it immediately.
Make sure all Non-binary people on staff know who to go to to report any issues. And make sure they’ll be listened to in confidence and taken seriously.
Create mentoring, employee networking groups, events or seminars for Non-binary staff.
Appoint some Non-binary Ambassadors or Champions, and ensure you have a Non-binary representative on any internal company LGBTQ+ groups. Give them access to the senior directors, listen to their concerns and let them liaise with the LGBTQ+ staff. Celebrate them within the business.
Ensure Non-binary allies are included in an Ally Of The Month project.
Start workplace training to help understanding of the Non-binary community, the issues faced and how to recognise and eliminate discrimination.
Here Are Some Resources To Help You Learn More About Non-Binary People
Stonewall Page on how to be a better Non-binary Ally
Learn the different Genderqueer and Non-binary identities
Goodreads Non-binary list of books
Non-Binary Related Key Dates
We have included Trans dates in this list, although these may not be appropriate for all Non-binary people as many do not also identify as trans.
Mar 31st Trans Day Of Visibility
April 24th - 30th Non-Binary Awareness Week
April 26th International Non-Binary Peoples Day
May 19th Agender Pride Day
May 17th International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia
Oct 11th International Coming Out Day
3rd Wednesday in Oct Pronouns Day
Oct 17th - 24th Gender Fluid Visibility Week
1st Sunday in Nov Trans Parent Day
Nov 13th - 19th Trans Awareness Week
Nov 20th Trans Day Of Remembrance
Other LGBTQ+ Flags
Find out about all the LGBTQ+ flags we include in the shop and loads more here
Other LGBTQ+ Awareness Dates And Key Events
We have a full list of the important awareness, visibility and remembrance dates in the LGBTQ+ calendar plus some of the bigger pride events and interesting other events here. out about all the LGBTQ+ flags we include in the shop and loads more here