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Non-Binary: What it Means and 10 Ways it can Change Your Life

If you’ve ever come across someone who identifies as non-binary and you have no idea what it is or what it means for someone’s life, this is for you.


With the world becoming more and more informed on different sexualities and gender identities, it’s no wonder the term non-binary has surfaced as of late. It’s a term than holds a lot of meaning for specific types of people.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with what non-binary means because a lot of people still don’t know much about it. However, it is a term that you should know and use correctly when referring to people who are non-binary.

What is non-binary?

Someone who is non-binary doesn’t view themselves as specifically male or female. This is a very broad way of saying that these people don’t view themselves the way society has said they should be.

A non-binary person may also struggle with their sexual orientation and may even consider becoming transgender so their body reflects what they identify closer with in terms of their gender.

How being non-binary changes your life

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, being non-binary can come with its challenges. Many people don’t understand just what it is, and some people even refuse to acknowledge the fact that it exists. [Read: Sexually fluid – what does this even mean in the dating world?]

Because of these reasons, being non-binary can change your life a whole lot. Once you realize exactly what it is, you’ll face challenges other people would never even think about. Here’s how being non-binary can change your life.

#1 People don’t believe in it. This changes your life for a lot of different reasons. For one, people who don’t believe you when you say that you’re not male or female will basically just give you a hard time and make you feel dumb.

Secondly, they don’t believe you! They basically raise their eyebrows in confusion and go about their day as if you’re just spewing nonsense about not identifying as either gender. This will make you feel angry, and you’ll avoid telling people – which suffocates your need to be understood. [Read: Heteroflexible – All you need to know about a rare sexuality]

#2 They think you just want attention. This is one of the more annoying things about society today. They think that every person who declares that they are non-binary is just looking for some attention because it’s a hot topic in the world of controversy today.

They’ll peg you as someone to avoid so they don’t have to deal with your “ridiculous” behaviors and claims. You’ll find that less and less people will give you the time you deserve to talk about being non-binary.

#3 Some people think it’s just a phase. This is another thing that will frustrate you to no end. People will more or less ignore you when you try to tell them about being non-binary, because they’ll think it’s just something you’re going through right now and not a serious matter.

Some may even have the audacity to tell you that it’s just a phase and you’ll “grow out of it.” Those people don’t need to be in your life. Therefore, you may end up cutting some people out of your life who choose not to acknowledge who you are. [Read: Pansexual vs. Bisexual – All the ways to tell the difference]

#4 You feel misunderstood. This is the biggest way being non-binary changes your life. If all of your life you’ve been able to reach people and talk to them about everything and be understood, and then you come out as non-binary, suddenly nobody really understands you.

You’ll have a hard time opening up about many things from there on out simply because you’ll often feel misunderstood. However, people misunderstanding you is completely due to their ignorance, and not you being non-binary. [Read: 9 sure ways to tell if you’re really bi-curious]

#5 It’s hard to fill out an application form when offered a “male” or “female.”  Some places are changing these in their application documents. However, it’s still difficult when you have to fill something out online as being “male” or “female” when you feel like neither.

You’ll go through an internal struggle momentarily as you check one off just for the hell of it, so you can continue with whatever it is you need to get done. The hardest part about this is that it’ll change your life in the littlest way, but it’ll have a big effect.

#6 Shopping in either section is difficult. You may have your own personal style and want to buy whatever you want, but you’ll feel weird about going into a store and shopping in either the “male” or “female” sections because, well, you’re neither!

It makes it hard because you just feel as though you don’t have a place that is for non-binary people like yourself. It won’t be the clothes that are the issue, it’ll be the fact that there are only two genders to choose from when you identify as neither. [Read: The perks and un-perks of coming out of the closet]

#7 You can’t even correct people when they call you a “male” or “female.” When someone refers to you as a specific gender, it’s hard to correct them when you can’t really tell them what to call you. Basically, you’ll just feel like saying, “I’m not that,” but you don’t have a way of backing it up in a way they can understand.

This changes your life because you’ll have to deal with it so much in conversation that it’ll be difficult for you to feel comfortable joining in a discussion with people who just don’t understand – or choose not to acknowledge it.

#8 Your confusion will be ignored. AKA, you will be ignored. Many people don’t understand what non-binary means, and because of that, they’ll just ignore anything that has to do with it completely so they don’t have to deal with being uninformed and looking stupid.

This means that non-binary folks will be ignored a lot in groups and conversations,  so nobody has to bring up the fact that you are, in fact, non-binary. Either that, or they’ll ignore the fact that you even mentioned anything at all.

#9 People will have a hard time respecting your identity. If you chose to tell people you’re non-binary and have them call you by a gender-neutral pronoun, many will disrespect your wishes by calling you by a term they see fit. They won’t even try to call you by what you prefer.

This kind of disrespect is definitely life-changing because you’ll see who in your life will respect you and your wishes, and who won’t. This may prompt you to kick certain people out of your life for good.

#10 You will feel like you don’t belong. Being non-binary can be very difficult because for your whole life, you’ve been slumped into a certain category and you can’t even choose the either category as the “right” one because it’s not what you feel.

This can make you feel like you don’t belong, and that’s a little life-changing because when you don’t feel like you’re included in life, you feel lonely and left out. It can make you withdrawn and less likely to engage with other people.

[Read: Definition of queer – What does the Q in LGBTQ really mean?]

Being non-binary isn’t something somebody chooses, but rather who they are on a deeper level. It has the ability to change your life in more than a few ways.

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Bella Pope LovePanky
Annabel Rodgers
Annabel is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog,...