What Does it Mean to Be Gender Non-Conforming

Many people are gender non-conformists.
Many people are gender non-conformists. Image (c) Transguyjay

What is Gender?

Gender refers to the behavioral, cultural, and psychological traits typically associated with males and females. However this view is limiting since people can be male, female, transgender,genderqueer , gender non-binary, gender non-conforming, or agender, for example. 

Tell Me More About Being Gender Non-Conforming

Gender non-conforming refers to people who do not adhere to society's rules about dress and activities for people that are based on their biological sex and gender assignment.

A gender non-conforming person may choose to present as neither clearly male, nor clearly female, but rather as a gender-free individual.

Some gender non-conformists are transgender, gay, lesbian or bisexual. Others do not identify with any of these categories.

It is also common for people to be gender conforming along some gender markers (like how they dress) but conform to their assigned gender on others (like the pronouns they chose to use).

In a world that like to divide things into clear "male" / "female" boxes, many people are gender conformist without adopting gender non-conforming as an identity. 

Isn't That the Same as Being Gender Non-Binary?

Sometimes the term gender non-binary is used as an umbrella term that can include people who are genderqueer, agender, and genderfluid, or gender non-conforming. 

Other times it is an identity of its own.

The term comes from the idea that most people see gender as "binary," or divided into two.

These divisions are generally presented as: male and female, man and woman, or for children, boy and girl. 

The binary division also divides people's gender expression, into masculine and feminine behaviors.

People who identify as gender non-binary have gender identities that don't fit into the gender binary.

So Then, Being Gender Non-Conforming is Part of Being Transgender?

Again, some people who are gender non-conforming may identify as transgender and others won't.  

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and / or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Transgender individuals may have the bodies of one sex, but a gender identity usually associated with the other.

Different Ways People Identify

Some people consider themselves neither men nor women. Others identify as both men and women. It is also possible to be non-binary and identify outside of the male/female divisions, but still identify with a clear gender identity. 

Gender Identity is Just Not an Either or Thing

Despite the fact that many people identify along a clear male or female division, plenty of others do not. Acknowledging the range of ways that individuals can experience gender can help affirm people's identities and is also just a more accurate way to understand gender.

Gender non-conformity can be an identity or just how someone chooses to move through a very gendered world.