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What is a Non-Binary?

People who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as outside of the male-female gender binary. Many other words for identities outside the traditional categories of man and woman may be used, such as genderfluid, genderqueer, polygender, bigender, demigender, or agender. These identities, while similar, are not necessarily interchangeable or synonymous.

What is Gender?

Gender describes our internal understanding and experience of our own gender identity. Each person’s experience of their gender identity is unique and personal, and cannot be known simply by looking at a person.

What is Sex?

Sex is the classification of a person as male, female, or intersex. When we are born, doctors usually decide whether female or male will be listed on our birth certificate. This sex assignment at birth is typically based solely on one’s genitals, however sex characteristics also include chromosomes, gonads, and sex hormones. Our sex assigned at birth may or may not correspond to our gender.

Someone’s sex characteristics are their personal information, and you do not need to know someone’s sex assigned at birth to be respectful of their gender identity. When someone shares their gender identity with you, it’s inappropriate to assume or try to deduce that person’s sex assigned at birth. Rather, believe others when they share their gender identity with you and support them.

What are Pronouns? 

Names and pronouns are a common way to communicate one’s gender. Honouring a person’s name and pronouns shows respect and acknowledgement of their gender and identity. Check out Tuesday’s Educational Post, A Guide to Pronouns, to learn more and access more resources on the subject.


This Educational Post was made in collaboration with the Carleton University Student’s Association (CUSA) Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre (GSRC). They are a great resource to learn more about this topic and many related subjects! The link to their page is directly below.

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