12 Things People Get Wrong About Being Nonbinary

In addition, if you’re attracted to a nonbinary person, that doesn’t determine what your own sexual orientation is. Sexual orientation is a complex aspect of someone’s identity that may involve who they’re attracted to, who they date, who they sleep with, what communities they feel they fit into, and what label simply resonates.

7. Nonbinary Identity Is Not Just a Quirk or Trend

Being nonbinary is not just a personality trait or phase; it’s a real identity that’s existed for thousands of years.

“People are becoming more accustomed to the idea of transgender people, since it’s easier to explain the idea of feeling more attuned to the ‘opposite gender,’ but something that’s in the middle or completely absent from the gender spectrum at all is still difficult,” says Yven. “I have people asking me what that feels like and then dismissing it when I describe it, or trying to say it’s more of a personality quirk rather than a genuine experience.” Manduley also comes across the idea that nonbinary identity is just a trend — or, as they put it, “a Tumblr invention.”

But some cultures that have long acknowledged people outside the gender binary.

8. We Don’t All Feel We Were “Born in the Wrong Body”

This is a common narrative about transgender people as well as nonbinary people, and while it’s true for some, it doesn’t make the identity of someone who does not relate to the “born in the wrong body” narrative less valid.

I personally don’t feel I was born in the wrong body; I feel I was assigned the wrong gender based on people’s misconceptions about my body. My nonbinary identity isn’t the result of my brain chemistry; it’s a reflection of my disagreement with the whole system of gender.

“There’s no nonbinary card people have to get validated via distress about their bodies,” says Manduley. “Relatedly, dysphoria can be common and is sometimes influenced by the ways in which society (at large and even LGBTQ-specific spaces) often pushes people to gender binaries and leaves nonbinary people feeling broken, confused, and unsettled, like they’re doing something wrong for ‘not picking a side already.'”

Similarly, nonbinary people don’t always feel they were “born that way,” Manduley adds. “For some people, their realization (or even discomfort with a binary assignment of man or woman) doesn’t materialize until later in life,” they explain. “For some, there’s little to no distress, and just an internal acknowledgement that their gender is different and/or more complex than man or woman.”

9. You Don’t Have to Be Equally “Masculine” and “Feminine” to Be Nonbinary

“I’d like people to know that nonbinary isn’t just ‘you are 50% man and 50% woman,’” says 23-year-old Kay Bashe. Nonbinary people identify as feminine and masculine to different degrees, just like men and women, and that may even change from time to time. Some don’t identify with masculinity or femininity at all.

It’s not possible for anyone else to say how “masculine” or “feminine” someone is. Masculinity and femininity are just arbitrary labels we give certain traits. What seems masculine to one culture or person might seem feminine to another. And none of them are right or wrong.

10. You Don’t Have To Prove You’re Nonbinary

I used to feel like a fraud for saying I was nonbinary because I didn’t do anything differently from when I identified as a woman. I dressed the same, I acted the same, and I didn’t talk about being nonbinary with many people.

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