For anyone who doesn’t know, what is the definition of Non-binary and what does this mean to you?
Non-Binary is an umbrella term which refers to any individual who does not identify with any of the primary genders such as male and female and is sometimes extended to include trans-male, trans-female, trans-gender, gender fluid and agender. It’s when your internal identification of gender does not fit into the pre-set genders primarily identified within society. Non-Binary is also used by those who identify as a combination of male and female.
I’ve always felt a strong disconnect to the gender I was born as (assigned male at birth) and at the same time I don’t feel expressly female. It wasn’t until I went to university and spoke with people in the Non-binary and Trans communities, that I realised Non-binary was an option. I’m now more aware of a title which I already was. For me, it’s a term I like because it finally gave me a name to describe what I’ve been feeling my entire life.
A friend had a fantastic example of “discovering” being Non-binary: Imagine your whole life you were looking at the colour green but no-one told you it’s called “green” then you learn the name for the colour and everything starts to make sense!
Here at Venn Group, we’ve recently given employees the ability to add their pronouns to their email sign-offs – what was your initial reaction to that?
Nothing but support for it! The concept of pronouns as an identifier becoming more prevalent across not only Venn Group but several different industries worldwide, is a massive step forward.I like that it is not a requirement for everyone, you can opt in or out. It also cuts out misgendering in a company setting where you’re sending out dozens of emails per day. It’s massively important you know what pronouns people use so you’re not making assumptions about them.
Sitting on the IT team at Venn Group, I actually saw the first person who formally requested pronouns as we were putting the system in place – she wanted to ensure everyone she is communicating with is aware she is female. As someone who uses non-standardised pronouns (They/Them), I was really pleased to receive and be able to deal with the first request. It means not only are people comfortable learning about each other’s pronouns but are actively making sure people know about their own pronouns.
Is there anything you would want people to know about Non-Binary people, including any misconceptions?
There are a lot of stereotypes and a lot of assumptions. One is when people ask “are you feeling more masculine or more feminine today” that question can work for people who are gender fluid (shifting between genders) but this is not an appropriate question for someone who is agender or strictly non-binary.
I think the most important thing people should know about being Non-Binary is it is very much a core part of a person. This is how a person feels about themselves and it is means a lot to them to treat them with the respect by using their pronouns, as they would treat you by using yours.
If there was one piece of advice for anyone trying to expand their knowledge on this topic?
Ask someone! Ask someone who is a member of the Non-binary or even LGBTQ+ community. You can go down a lot of rabbit holes reading article after article but if you research this yourself you might get it wrong, whereas if you speak to someone from the community, they will tell you things from their personal experience.
The most crucial piece of advice I have to give is be nice to people as well as respecting their boundaries, beliefs and gender/identity in the same way they will respect you and your identity. If you’re a He/Him or a She/Her, refer to someone who is non-binary as they/them. Respect each other’s pronouns.