Between International Women's and Men's days is Non-Binary Day!

Yesterday, July 14th, was International Non-Binary Day! Nonbinary individuals don’t identify within the gender binary – that is, society’s traditionally assigned genders of either male or female. There are several different terms to describe this identity, like genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, gender non-conforming, and many more. The way people identify themselves is completely up to them, and it’s important to be aware of the multiple ways that they do!

Action for the recognition of an international nonbinary day began in 2012. Bloggers and activists suggested July 14th for such a celebration, seeing as this date falls directly between International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day. This happy medium, writers posited, would help increase awareness of the nonbinary community and go a long way towards societal acceptance.

Our wonderful non-binary Development Intern, Artie!

This formal, international acknowledgment of nonbinary individuals has indeed done so. Artie, a nonbinary intern with OutRight, comments that “[h]aving a day dedicated to who you are and what your identity is is impactful...I remember learning that there was a day for who I am and it made it feel all the more real and valid – like there’s one more reason the world can’t take my identity away from me.”

The importance of such a day cannot be understated. In a world where gender recognition laws have a long way to go, formal days dedicated to acknowledging LGBTQIA+ identities are crucial to legitimizing the experiences of queer individuals.

The existence of the nonbinary community is nothing new. Many non-Western societies around the world have long recognized third genders, such as the Hijra of India or two-spirit Indigenous North Americans. However, despite the constant presence of nonbinary individuals, legislation protecting this community has only recently begun to take shape.

Worldwide, there remains much progress to be made on the legal recognition of nonbinary and otherwise gender non-conforming people. In 2003, Australia was one of the first nations to formally create a third classification for gender identity to be used on official legal documents, with nonbinary Australians able to mark themselves as “X” gender. Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, Iceland, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Uruguay, and parts of the United States have since adopted similar laws. While the presence of this legislation is undoubtedly positive, change must still occur in terms of legal reform (even to the laws already in existence!) as well as social attitudes.

In terms of increasing representation, International Non-Binary Day goes a long way towards helping the nonbinary community be seen. On Twitter and Instagram, #InternationalNonBinaryDay was used to educate, share nonbinary stories, and spread messages of acceptance for this community. See examples below.

So, this week, take some time to learn about the non-binary community. Awareness and education are crucial to achieving equal rights for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community. And to the nonbinary folks out there – happy belated international non-binary day!