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Non-Binary Gender So Far...

This presentation covers current thinking on genders between and beyond the binary of male and female.

Meg John Barker

on 24 August 2016

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Transcript of Non-Binary Gender So Far...

Western psychology: Binary gender system self-evident - deviations pathologised
Mainstream psychology obsessed with gender difference despite greater evidence of similarity (Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974)
Assumed to be 'natural' despite evidence of neuroplasticity (Fine, 2010)
Cultural forces impose gender binary
Bem - central research - androgyny healthy - arguing to eradicate gender (sex as important as eye colour - can be hetero/homo)


Proliferating genders
Diverse experiences of non-binary gender
Sex & gender non-binary at all levels (chromosomal, hormonal, primary/secondary sex characteristics, neural, gender roles, etc., Fausto-Sterling, Joel)
Intersex estimate - 0.5 to 2% - not all intersex folk non-binary, not all non-binary folk intersex
Highlights gender as biopsychosocial - differing extents in differing combinations
Metro Centre recent study - LGBTQ young people - 5% not M/F
Scottish Trans Alliance (2012) survey on trans mental health over 1/4 identified as non-binary or agendered, but not all non-binary folk see selves as trans* (challenge cis/trans* binary
Titman - national surveys review - estimates around 0.4%.
Also difficulty knowing how many people would identify if available (e.g. rural/urban Minesota schools - gay/trans)
Joel et al. (2013) in a general population 35% felt to some extent as the ‘other’ gender, as both men and women &/or as neither. Yougov ~20% in between/not binary.

Prevalence of non-binary genders
Pronouns, e.g. zie, they - ask etiquette, not questioning
Titles, e.g. Mx
References e.g. that man/woman, boy/girl rather than person. Sir/Madam, love/guv/darling/mate - context
Name change: none, gender neutral name, initials, two names, middle name in brackets, different names on different occasions
Relationship words e.g. partner, sibling, offspring, parent
Some may accept/embrace being gendered as M/W on different occasions
Non-verbal communication
Adopting appearance of gender other than assigned at birth, cultivating androgynous appearance, adopting aspects of 'masculinity' and 'femininity' simultaneously, different according to context, changing over time
Issues around body image ideals for non-binary people (e.g. images of androgyny = thin, white, no visible disability, fashion conscious)
Gender expression
Upcoming Book
Photographs thanks to www.identityprojectsf.com

Bem (1995) - shift - way to transform gender is to turn the volume up, not down: '
I propose that we let a thousand categories of sex/gender/desire begin to bloom in any and all fluid and permeable configurations and, through that very proliferation, that we thereby undo the privileged status of the two-and-only-two that are currently treated as normal and natural.'

2014 Facebook genders: 71 and counting
Potential surgeries or hormonal interventions (becoming possible on NHS, trans aware media)
Incorporating aspects of both man and woman:
Mixed gender, sometimes pangender, androgynous.
Having no gender:
Gender neutral, non-gendered, genderless, agender, neuter, neutrois.
Moving between genders:
Bigender, gender fluid, sometimes pangender.
Being of a specific additional gender
(either between man and woman or otherwise additional to those genders): Third gender, other gender, sometimes pangender
Moving between multiple genders:
Trigender, sometimes pangender.
Disrupting the gender dichotomy:
Genderqueer, genderfuck.

Multidimensional & Intersectional
McNeil et al. (2012) - those who identify as non-binary and/or express themselves in ways that challenge binary gender face similarly high levels of mental health difficulties to trans people generally.
Harrison et al. (2012) - over 40% of non-binary people had attempted suicide atsome point, a third had experienced physical assault, and a sixth sexual assault based on their gender.
Beyond the Binary Survey
Inability to access education, work, housing, or healthcare without misgendering oneself
Inability to have gender recorded correctly
Hospitals, prisons, care-homes and other institutions failing to recognise gender accurately
Lack of accessible public facilities
Facing constant misgendering by others in language
Everyday harassment, discrimination and hate-crime -> feeling very unsafe
Inability to access healthcare services
Feeling forced to present as male/female to be accepted, access work and make a living
Intense school and/or workplace bullying due to gender expression
Being forbidden from presenting as non-binary - no legal recourse
So Far
Full transcript