Nonbinary gender in the media

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The Nonbinary Wiki aims to increase the public awareness and understanding of nonbinary gender and identities that fall under the nonbinary umbrella.

This page aims to gather links and references to factual media coverage and depictions of nonbinary people, identities and concepts.

See also fictional depictions of nonbinary gender.

United Kingdom[edit | edit source]

Newspapers, magazines and news sites[edit | edit source]

Huddersfield Daily Examiner[edit | edit source]

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner is a local daily evening newspaper covering the Huddersfield area.

January 2013[edit | edit source]
Transvestite or cross-dresser? Huddersfield’s Peter Dawes explains his views on being ‘gender neutral’[edit | edit source]
Description
Positive article about local nonbinary musician
Author
Nick Lavigueur
Extract
“If pushed I say I am ‘gender neutral’ because psychologically, I feel no sway towards the ‘normal’ male or female genders. Outwardly, I tend to dress as a girl, even though I have a man’s body. If you ask me why, I couldn’t actually tell you. There appears to be a contradiction when I describe myself as gender neutral and wanting to look female. However, there is a big difference between your inward gender and your outward appearance."

Huffington Post (UK Edition)[edit | edit source]

The Huffington Post is a mainstream online-only newspaper, launched in the United States. The items listed here featured in the UK edition.

November 2011[edit | edit source]
Gendering Free: Exploring Outside the Binary[edit | edit source]
Description
Positive, gentle introduction to nonbinary gender
Author
Kate Harrad
Extract
They might describe themselves as nonbinary, non-gendered, genderqueer, genderfree, trans, androgynous or all or none of the above or something else entirely. What they have in common is that they can't or won't fit into a simple binary definition of male or female.
Notes
Specifically mentions 'nonbinary' and a number of identities under the umbrella. Gives a positive and accurate, if simplistic, description of nonbinary experiences. Includes extracts from interviews with multiple nonbinary people. Uses a town vs country metaphor for binary vs nonbinary gender. Discusses how children relate to nonbinary and gender variant adults. Featured in the blog section of the site.

Pink News[edit | edit source]

Pink News is a United Kingdom based LGBT online news site with a predominantly gay and lesbian audience.

March 2011[edit | edit source]
Interview: Genderqueer Performer CN Lester[edit | edit source]
Description
Sympathetic interview with activist and performer CN Lester, discusses the difficulties of living as a visibly genderqueer person working as a classical musician
Author
Paris Lees
Extract
What harassment do you face? I don't take hormones, so the majority of people perceive me as a woman, but obviously a woman who is transgressing gender norms. So the street harassment I get tends to be sexual aggression from cis [non-trans] guys, like "Hey baby, how about one up the arse?" or "Suck on this darling." Or trying to grope you in the street. Then it gets mixed in with the transphobia, when they’re not entirely sure if I’m female or male, that adds to that aggression and it just turns into "f**ing freak" or "faggot". I think one guy even came out with "You f**king pervert." I thought wow: you have no idea what I do in bed.
Notes
Sympathetic portrayal, primarily in the interviewee's own words. Uses the labels genderqueer, trans and transgender. Discusses street harassment, career prospects, access to services (changing rooms, taxis etc) and trans activism, as well as transgender themes in opera.

The Psychologist[edit | edit source]

The Psychologist is the magazine of The British Psychological Society.

January 2012[edit | edit source]
Settling into gender: Francine Béar and Jennifer Wild on My Transsexual Summer[edit | edit source]
Description
Review of the Channel 4 documentary series My Transsexual Summer from a psychological perspective, containing problematic wording.
Author
Francine Béar and Jennifer Wild
Extract
Finding foot on the gender identity continuum is certainly a long journey when there’s a mismatch between biological and psychological sex. Channel 4 has done an excellent job in revealing the struggles that dominate when there’s a poor fit, what’s involved medically on the journey to make a better fit, and importantly, the need to see gender as spanning a continuum rather than a dichotomy. Only in seeing this, will we have a chance to transform the stigma, misunderstanding, and mockery that transgender individuals face when they take steps to be who they really are.
Notes
Positive about the programme itself. The only criticism is given to the over emphasis on surgery rather than psychological aspects, yet the article seems to conflate body dysphoria (or lack of it) with differences in gender identity, eg "wish to keep the parts of their bodies that make them male" (the programme also does this to a lesser degree). Talks about a 'gender continuum' pointing to nonbinary gender, but it's not clear if this is talking about a continuum of bodies or gender identities (may imply that all trans people are somewhere along the continuum regardless of personal binary identities).

Television Documentaries[edit | edit source]

BBC One[edit | edit source]

The flagship channel of the BBC (British Broadcasting Company), the United Kingdom's 'first channel'.

March 1995[edit | edit source]
Q.E.D.: Sex Acts[edit | edit source]
Description
Prime time documentary exploring gender as performance (through a drag king workshop) and gender outside the binary including interviews with people described as 'third gender', 'transgenderists' and 'androgynes'). Features Christie Elan-Cane.
Air date
9:30pm, 28 March 1995
Production Company
BBC
Producer
Richard Dale
Editor
Lorraine Heggessey
Series
Q.E.D (aka 'Living Proof')
Episode title
Sex Acts
Running time
30 minutes
Availability
Not available online but reportedly viewable at the British Film Institute
Review
Contemporary newspaper coverage of the episode (from the Independent) (Includes inappropriate use of male pronouns for third gendered individuals).
Notes
Despite its age, this is still the most prominent prime time coverage of nonbinary gender on British television. The gender specialist psychologists interviewed, including Russell Reid, are extremely hostile to nonbinary gender. The information and attitudes presented and the terminology used are now dated.

Podcasts[edit | edit source]

See also the Podcasts page.

BBC Sounds - NB podcast series[edit | edit source]

Podcast series with Caitlin Benedict and Amrou Al-Kadhi that discusses nonbinary gender.

United States[edit | edit source]

Newspapers, magazines and news sites[edit | edit source]

CNN[edit | edit source]

October 2018[edit | edit source]
More US teens are rejecting 'boy' or 'girl' gender identities, a study finds[edit | edit source]
Authors
Mercedes Leguizamon and Brandon Griggs
Extract
More teenagers are identifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid, according to a new study.
The research, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that almost 3% of Minnesota teens did not identify with traditional gender labels such as "boy" or "girl."

The Cut[edit | edit source]

August 2012[edit | edit source]
Neither Man Nor Woman: Meet the Agender[edit | edit source]
Author
Rachel R. White

The New York Times[edit | edit source]

August 2019[edit | edit source]
Nonbinary Teenagers Are Finding a New Fit[edit | edit source]

An article about young nonbinary people and androgynous fashion.

Author
Hayley Krischer
Extract
One photograph that sums up the nonbinary youth movement can be found on the Instagram account of Lachlan Watson, an 18-year-old actor who stars in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and who, in the photo wears a John Lennon- and Yoko Ono-inspired T-shirt that reads: "Gender is over. If you want it."
Billie Eilish, the 17-year-old whose music has been streamed more than a billion times, is a current focus of the teenage gaze. Ms. Eilish is the anti-Britney Spears, the anti-Katy Perry. (Though, in a 2017 Vogue article, even Ms. Perry announced wanting to transcend "cutesy" and that she was going for more "androgynous, architectural" looks.) Ms. Eilish calls gender roles "ancient."
She is known for wearing baggy, oversize clothing and on the red carpet wears gigantic jackets and big furry pants. Onstage, Ms. Eilish is often seen wearing hoodies, large athletic-looking shorts and tube socks. [...] For nonbinary teenagers, Ms. Eilish is a revelation. Zai Nixon-Reid, 19, a student at the New School, who is female-aligned nonbinary and goes by the pronouns they/them, says people often compared their style to Ms. Eilish's androgynous look.
"It's definitely why I like her, because everything she wears is really oversized and that's kind of how I wish my closet was," they said. To scroll through Mx. Nixon-Reid's Instagram is to see a style that consists of oversize buttoned shirts and chains, but also suits and scarves and fedora hats.
Expressing themselves through fashion is something new for Mx. Nixon-Reid. It wasn't always easy. Their mother is hyper-feminine, so most of their childhood clothes had been traditionally female.
"These days, sort of at the end of 2018, I've been able to explore gender through fashion and it's helped me understand my own gender through clothes," they said.
The moment now is that mall fixtures like H & M carry unisex lines, but gender nonconforming youth are still at high risk for bullying and suicide, in both in cosmopolitan areas and, especially, outside of them. In other words, a goth androgynous person may appear, as the kids say, dope, in Brooklyn, but could easily be a target somewhere else.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian[edit | edit source]

June 2001[edit | edit source]
From butch to boy: Welcome to the genderqueer life[edit | edit source]
Description
The author, Kassy, ruminates on their own gender journey and gives an overview of the trans community. Kassy ends the piece with "I'm no lady, but I'm not a man either."
Author
Kassy Kayiatos
Extract
A transgendered person might be genderqueer, meaning that his/her gender is nontraditional in some way: s/he might feel at one with both genders, or s/he might be in the process of moving from one gender to the other. Hence, traditional words such as 'transsexual' and 'transvestite' are being supplemented with more ambiguous phrases like 'trannyfag' or 'girlboy' or 'intersexed' (which refers to both a medical condition in which a person is born with ambiguous genitals and a state of mind in which the person feels like both genders).

The Daily Dot[edit | edit source]

September 2017[edit | edit source]
Everything you never understood about being nonbinary[edit | edit source]
Description
An overview of nonbinary identity, pronouns, definitions, and links to resources to learn more. (Mentions the Nonbinary Wiki!)
Author
Ana Valens

National Public Radio (NPR)[edit | edit source]

February 2015[edit | edit source]
Paige's Story[edit | edit source]
Description
Audio (with text transcription) about a bigender person named Paige Abendroth who "flips" between being male and female.
Author
Alix Spiegel
Extract
ABENDROTH: Like my biggest worry is that I'm never going to really fit in to, like, female spaces or male spaces. I'm afraid that I'm going to be living the rest of my life in some kind of weird gender twilight zone.
SPIEGEL: And what will you do then?
ABENDROTH: I don't know. I'll keep on doing my best.
Notes
Some ableist/invalidating bits, e.g. some researchers that Spiegel talked to are reported as saying "These people are just psychotic." However a different researcher does clarify that nonbinary identities, like Paige's, are not mental illness.
Some discussion of dysphoria, e.g. Paige says, "Imagine you woke up and your body was a cockroach. It was really unsettling." and there is a mention of Paige vomiting from severe dysphoria.
May 2017[edit | edit source]
A New Generation Overthrows Gender[edit | edit source]

Sapiens Anthropology Magazine[edit | edit source]

August 2020[edit | edit source]
My Nonbinary Child[edit | edit source]
Description
The author, a biological anthropologist, talks about her child coming out as femme and agender. Very supportive.
Author
Barbara J. King
Extract
Certainly, I make mistakes myself when I speak about or to Sarah, more often than I ever thought I would. Those 26 years of habit don’t break easily; pronoun use is a “very deeply seated feature of language,” according to linguist John McWhorter. My husband and I have set up a system to help each other. When one of us is talking to or about Sarah and accidentally misgenders them, the other raises a hand high in the air. Less harsh than a verbal interruption, this signal works well to keep us focused and on track.

In 2020, intolerance and violence seem to have increased across much of the world, including against trans and nonbinary people. We can and must create a world where queer rights, including nonbinary rights, are human rights. I believe that coming to know the lived experiences of queer and nonbinary folks can help.

Sarah is a young adult making their way forward in the world as an agender person. I am thankful for their permission to tell a part of their story here. As I think how best to end this essay, I am filled with one upwelling sensation. I am proud to be the mom of a wonderful person—one who works tirelessly for social justice, and who lives as neither a woman nor a man. To love them as they are is a gift of my life.
Notes
King also wrote a piece in 2013 for NPR titled Why We Need More Than Three Genders.

Associated Press[edit | edit source]

November 2013[edit | edit source]
'Preferred' pronouns gain traction at US colleges - Yahoo Huffington Post[edit | edit source]
Description
Information on and quotes from students, faculty, and staff at U.S. colleges where use of preferred pronouns has become institutionalized. Mentions singular “they”, a variety of alternate neutral pronouns, and the only-by-name preference.
Author
Lisa Less
Extract
At the University of Vermont, students who elect to change their names and/or pronouns on class rosters now can choose from she, he and ze, as well as the option of being referred to by only their names. Hampshire College in Massachusetts advertises its inclusiveness by listing the gender pronouns of its tour guides on the school's web site. And intake forms at the University of California, Berkeley's student health center include spaces for male, female or other.
Notes
Emphasizes that it's not only college students, but also faculty and staff using neutral pronouns. Has a particularly uncomfortable passage where it seems to be setting nonbinaries in opposition to binary trans people: “But as fewer young people choose to undergo sex reassignment surgery, such students [binary trans students who are attributed with starting the campus inclusion movement] are slowly being outnumbered by peers who refuse to be limited”. Overall positive portrayal of the issue with relatively little space given to the “controversy” of nonbinary identities and pronoun preferences. If anything, doesn't give enough recognition to binary trans identities as opposed to nonbinary.

WBUR (Public radio in Boston, Massachusetts)[edit | edit source]

March 2015[edit | edit source]
Not Male Or Female: Molding Bodies To Fit A Genderfluid Identity[edit | edit source]
Author
Martha Bebinger
Extract
Both Jones and Jackson are under the care of physicians who are helping them pursue a more gender neutral body. But there are no guidelines. So far, in the emerging world of transgender medicine, protocols assume that patients want to end up on one end of the spectrum or the other, male or female, says Dr. Tim Cavanaugh, who runs the transgender health program at Fenway Health.
"[The guidelines] really don’t address this idea of gender spectrum or gender fluidity, but we we see it a lot," Cavanaugh said.
An estimated 100 to 150 of Fenways Health's 1,500 transgender patients are genderfluid. Most of the genderfluid patients are transitioning from female towards male. So how do doctors know how much testosterone will produce the effects these patients are looking for?
"To a certain extent we’re making it up, but I’d like to think of it more as finessing the regimens that we have based on the individual person’s desires and needs," Cavanaugh said. "[It's difficult], especially with testosterone. Testosterone is very potent and even when we try to prescribe low doses, every person responds in a different way."
Notes
Overall the article is positive toward nonbinary people changing their bodies, but has some brief discussion of opposition to medical transition.

Netherlands[edit | edit source]

Newspapers, magazines and news sites[edit | edit source]

Flipside Magazine[edit | edit source]

October 2020[edit | edit source]
October 9 - Beschuit met paarse muisjes: genderqueer zijn en genderneutraliteit in 2020

Noordhollands Dagblad[edit | edit source]

June 2015[edit | edit source]
June <19th

The newspaper reported in short blurbs that Dutch politicians had been working to remove the male/female indicator off of official documents, to specifically aid transgender, intersex and nonbinary people (near quote). In a daily poll question, 81% of the readership indicated to approve of such endeavors.

June 23rd

Starting of showing the “Call Me Caitlyn” Vanity Fair cover to illustrate the predominance of transgender people in media, the article continued to make a similar case for people of nonbinary gender identities changing their names. Stating that (undefined) sources support that there exists a large number of nonbinary people in the Netherlands, the article uses "intersex" as a catch-all term for nonbinary gender, going as far as saying that "LGBTI" covers all possible gender identities.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]