Abstract

The following study examines the experiences of non-binary people living in a society that emphasizes a gender binary, along with how being non-binary affects participants’ views of the world and themselves. The study also looked to establish a working definition of “non-binary.” I interviewed 17 participants who self-identified as non-binary regarding their lived experiences as non-binary people. Narratives were used to establish codes and themes. Adopting a narrative approach to the data, the study puts forth working definitions of non-binary and related terms, such as gender non-conforming, androgyny, and genderfluid. The study found that most participants saw themselves as breaking the norms by being non-binary and in other ways, including their sexuality and religion. Participants placed an emphasis on visibility, asserting that by being visible as non-binary they help society move away from strict binary constructs. Participants also described many adverse experiences associated with being non-binary, including being misgendered and safety concerns, which can impact non-binary people’s mental health. This study forms a basis for further research into non-binary experiences, both in relation to lived day-to-day experiences and in terms of associated mental health outcomes.

Thesis Completion

2021

Semester

Spring

Thesis Chair

Koontz, Amanda

Degree

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Sociology

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

5-1-2021

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