If you are a lesbian but do not identify as male or female, you may have heard multiple misconceptions regarding what that means. Some people might even refuse to use your pronouns or not take you seriously.
Unfortunately, despite a growing number of resources on the LGBTQ+ community, many have little to no education about gender expression and identity. To create a more inclusive environment, it’s important to understand and address common myths regarding gender, youth, and identity.
If you don’t adhere to a specific gender but feel attraction towards women, coming to terms with your identity can be challenging. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t be both! In this article, we’ll dispel some myths and half-truths about this unique gender identity.
Defining A Non-Binary & Lesbian Gender Identity
Non-binary is a term used to describe people who don’t identify exclusively as men or women. Some might present or express themselves as gender non-conforming, androgynous, or fluid. Whatever the case, there is no one right way to be, appear, or act your gender.
A lesbian is defined as a woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to another woman. If you characterize yourself as both, things can get confusing…but it doesn’t mean you can’t conform to your own unique identity!
For instance, a non-binary lesbian might identify as masculine and be attracted romantically to someone who identifies as female. Ultimately, it is an experience that does not conform to expectations, stereotypes, or the sex you are assigned at birth.
Different Types Of Genders
A person’s gender identity can vary tremendously. While a non-binary person is an umbrella term for someone who does not identify as being a man or woman, they might also express themselves as the following:
- Agender: Refers to having no specific gender identity or one that is gender-neutral
- Bigender: Refers to someone who has two distinct gender identities alternatively or at the same time
- Gender fluid: Refers to someone who moves between multiple gender identities
- Genderqueer: Refers to all individuals who are non-binary
- Two-spirit: A pan-tribal term used by indigenous Americans to describe multiple genders
In the end, anyone can be non-binary, use the pronouns they prefer, and experience changes in their sense of self.
Myths About Being A Nonbinary Lesbian
Many lesbians who consider themselves non-binary don’t get the same treatment as those who are gender-conforming. If you or someone you know is exploring their sexuality, below are a few myths and half-truths that are important to dispel.
There Are Only Two Genders: Male And Female
The idea that people identify only as male or female is socially constructed. This expectation works in the same way that culture dictates what traditional marriages should look like: between two opposite genders.
However, gender exists beyond these two definitions. A person’s “coming out” binary experience is unique and can occur at any point in their life. Nowadays, gender diversity is flourishing.
For instance, you can be a lesbian woman or gay man and change your mind later on. You can also consider yourself both genders, neither, or as another gender altogether.
If You Are Lesbian, You Must Consider Yourself Female
The conventional definition of a lesbian refers to women who experience attraction towards other women. However, your sexual orientation doesn’t dictate your gender identity.
For example, non-binary lesbians might consider themselves masculine or fluid but still have a deep-rooted connection to their womanhood. Similarly, someone whose assigned sex is male identifies as gender fluid, and is attracted to other women can still consider themselves a non-binary lesbian.
You don’t have to be the same gender as your partner to prove your identity. Someone’s non-binary identity is entirely up to them – it’s never okay to impose another queer identity onto someone who does not resonate with it.
Children Are Too Young To Understand Non-Binary Identities
Contrary to popular belief, most children have a sense of their gender roles, identity, and sexual behaviour by age four. Gender is an inherent part of someone’s core. Whether we notice it or not, adults communicate these gender expectations to children the minute they are born – they talk about how to look and behave through books, film, and other media.
How kids receive this message can influence their opinions from a very early age. An open and honest opportunity to learn can help young queer people better understand who they are.
Non-Binary People Can’t Relate To Different Genders
One person can consider themselves a non-binary man or woman and another gender. For instance, gender non-conforming lesbians may not feel in tune with their inherent identities but love their female-coded bodies. Whatever the case, a queer person has the freedom to explore what they feel best represents them.
You Must Be Mentally Ill
Being non-binary and lesbian does not make you mentally challenged. However, non-binary people struggling with their gender presentation or whose gender identity is constantly scrutinized can experience dysphoria.
Most non-binary or trans people experience gender prejudice. Because of how society perceives lesbians, many feel they cannot be fluid at the same time. They are bullied for their sexuality and called attention-seeking, which makes access to mental health resources essential to the lesbian community.
You Can’t Experience Transgender Oppression
Transgender people and those who consider themselves lesbian, gay, or non-binary experience the same level of oppression. Unfortunately, studies show that up to 40% of young trans men and women consider suicide.
Lesbian history and the queer community have long struggled with being punished and silenced for their visibility. This is because many lack access to the appropriate linguistic tools, education, and resources regarding related topics.
Non-Binary And Intersex Are Mutually Exclusive
Being intersex refers to someone whose body is not traditionally male or female. A binary woman, for example, might have male body parts. However, it is not the same as being non-binary, as the term intersex is biological. Queer theory differentiates being non-binary as an identity matter.
Pronouns Don’t Matter As Much If You Are Non-Binary And Lesbian
Anyone can have a variety of pronouns. A gender non-conforming woman, for instance, might prefer she/her pronouns to gender-neutral pronouns. The best way to find out how to refer to a person is to ask them. If you have several close friends who are non-conforming, calling them by their birth name or pronouns you prefer can be profoundly invalidating.
The Bottom Line
It can be challenging for people who are comfortable identifying with their birth gender to understand what non-binary lesbians go through. However, there are many ways to have a better grasp of someone’s personal experience. You can start by consulting the many resources available online or attending a workshop.
In the end, supporting the LGBTQ+ community means lending a hand to someone who is only trying to become more comfortable in their own shoes.
We hope you enjoyed this article, sign up for our emails to receive our latest posts.
Team Nonchalant x