Non-Binary Awareness Week is an LGBTQ+ awareness period dedicated to those who do not fall into the traditional gender binary. (i.e. those who do not exclusively identify as a man or a woman, or who may identify as both a man or a woman, or may fall outside of these categories altogether) – Wikepedia

We are thrilled to celebrate and bring awareness to our non-binary friends and family during the week of July 12-16. The non-binary communities are beautiful and bring us unique contributions that should be valued and cherished. They have always been a part of our culture and history and have often been revered or misunderstood by their cisgender communities. 

Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity and sex assigned at birth are the same. 

The truth is, humans are the ones who created the notion of gender, and different cultures and societies have invented the roles and rules to keep gender limited to the binary idea of only two genders; male and female. 

Many cultures have embraced their non-binary citizens as a spiritual gift and as a beautiful combination of all aspects of humanity. For instance, many indigenous cultures have honored a “third gender” in their culture for centuries. This is where the term Two-Spirit comes from. Two Spirit is a general term for people within native culture who blend the masculine and feminine, and have defined spiritual and societal roles. (University of South Dakota)

Other third gender identities across the world are:

Hijra in South Asia

Yan Daudau in Northern Nigeria

Muxe in Zapotec cultures of Oaxaca, Mexico

Fa’afine in Samoa

Mahu in Hawaii

We have learned that anatomy doesn’t determine gender, and there is much freedom to be experienced when we allow our children to express themselves as their own, internal understanding of who they are. We must allow our children to speak, feel and to express their truth. And know that we celebrate wherever their gender varies on the spectrum. 

Representation matters for our young gender queer folks. It’s so important for them to see other people express themselves dynamically and without shame. Historical figures and celebrities have paved the way for more people to feel free to be their authentic selves and not feel trapped by the roles and titles society has created for them to follow. 

From Frida Kahlo to Janelle Monae to Prince, our non-binary community is seeing more possibilities for their identities to be shared and celebrated. And we hope with continuing education and advocacy work, we can continue to change the social norms and create a kinder, safer place for all to be who they truly are. For your children’s sake, learn more, respect pronouns, and believe them when they trust you with the most intimate parts of their identity. For more helpful resources regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, please go to freemomhugs.org