Home > News > Happy Non-Binary Awareness Week 2023!

10 July 2023   |    News

Happy Non-Binary Awareness Week 2023!

This week is Non-binary awareness week, an international celebration of all people who don’t fully identify as women or men.

To mark this week, we’ve put together 3 key things to know that you can share with family, friends, and colleagues.


  1. What does “non-binary” mean?

At the Equality Network, the definition we use for non-binary is:

“Identifying as either having a gender which isin-between or beyond the two categories ‘man’ and ‘woman’, as fluctuating between ‘man’ and ‘woman’, or as having no gender, either permanently or some of the time.”

Non-binary then roughly refers to anyone who feels they don’t quite fit in with the expectation that everyone is either a man or a woman, or a girl or a boy. This isn’t to say that they only believe in reductive gender stereotypes about men and women, or that men and women have to behave certain ways, but is about how they personally relate to the idea of being a man or a woman.

While some people use the term as an identity itself — for example they may say “I am non-binary” — it is also used as an umbrella term for many other identities that don’t fit inside the gender binary. For example, someone who is genderfluid, and feels that their identity is not fixed or changes over time, may consider themselves part of the non-binary community.

Many non-binary people consider themselves to be trans, but not all do. This is why we often use “trans and non-binary”, to make it explicit that we include non-binary people in the work we do.

As with the wider trans community, non-binary people may choose to change their name and pronouns, and they may also seek gender affirming care, such as hormone replacement therapy or gender affirming surgery.

Non-binary people also often (but not always!) use “they/them” pronouns. While it can be hard to get your head around using “they” to refer to just one person, you probably do it all the time without noticing it – e.g. “Oh no, someone’s left their wallet on the bus, I hope the driver can get it back to them.”


  1. How can I use non-binary inclusive language?

The English language can be very gendered, and this can mean that we sometimes use language that can make non-binary people feel excluded or unwelcome, even when we don’t mean to.

Below are some examples of easy ways that you can use language that includes everyone:

Instead of "he/she" use "he/she/they". Instead of "open to both genders" use "open to all genders". Instead of "Ladies and Gentlemen" use "Honoured Guests". Instead of "Dear Sir/Madam" use "To whom it may concern". Instead of "mothers and fathers" use "parents/carers/guardians". Instead of "husband/wife" use "spouse". Instead of "brother/sister" use "sibling". Instead of "men and women" use "people/everyone".


We have also produced a guide for employers and service providers on non-binary inclusion, as well as a more general report on the experiences of non-binary people. You can always pop us an email at info@scottishtrans.org if you have any questions.


  1. What’s happening with non-binary rights in Scotland?


We’ve campaigned for many years for legal recognition of non-binary people, and were frustrated and disappointed that this was left out of the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill last year.

However, there is work underway to improve the lives of non-binary people in Scotland.

Following on from the recommendations of the Non-binary Equality Working Group, the Scottish Government is developing a “Non-binary Equality Action Plan” for launch later this year.

If you are non-binary, you can help shape this action plan by applying to attend a Scottish Government focus group in August.

Find out more about them and how to get involved here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/nonbeapsgfg23

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