What Is Gender Fluid Vs Non-Binary

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If you don’t identify exclusively as male or female, you may describe yourself as nonbinary or genderfluid. While these terms are related, there are some key differences. Nonbinary people make up approximately 11% of the adult LGBTQ population. 

Most nonbinary individuals do not identify as strictly male or female. Instead, they may feel that their gender identity is fluid, in between male and female, or outside the gender binary altogether. Given growing survey data showing that 2-10% of youth identify as a gender minority, including nonbinary and genderfluid, these groups are likely increasing. 

Whether cis or trans, nonbinary and genderfluid people deserve respect and equal rights. Understanding differences in how people experience and express their gender identity leads to greater inclusiveness.

Gender Expression vs Gender Identity

Your gender identity is how you see yourself in your internal self. It’s personal and unique to you. Your gender expression, on the other hand, is how you show your gender identity to the outside world through behavior, clothing, haircut, and other external attributes.

Your gender expression is linked to but separate from your gender identity. One does not define the other. How you express yourself through behavior, style, and appearance should be what feels right. Feeling free to explore and define your gender expression is important for well-being and self-acceptance.

gender fluid person with their friend at an event

What Does Gender-Fluid Mean?

Gender-fluid means your gender identity can change over time. Some days, you may feel more masculine, other days more feminine, or like a combination of both. Gender fluidity is a nonbinary gender identity, meaning you don’t identify strictly as male or female.

As a gender-fluid person, your pronouns and gender expression may change depending on your feelings. You might use he/him, she/her, or they/them pronouns, and dress and act in ways that reflect your inner sense of gender at that time. Your identity is flexible and not fixed in place.

Being gender-fluid is a personal experience that looks different for each individual. For some, their gender remains steadily fluid and changing; for others, it may stabilize for periods. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to be gender-fluid. Most importantly, you listen to yourself and honor what feels authentic for you.

Non binary person with flag

What Does Nonbinary Mean?

What does nonbinary mean? Nonbinary refers to gender identities that are not exclusively male or female. This includes identities like genderfluid, agender, and bigender. Nonbinary people may use pronouns like they/them.

Some nonbinary people feel that their gender identity shifts or changes over time, known as genderfluid. Others feel they have no internal sense of gender at all, known as agender. Still others identify as bigender, meaning they feel both male and female. There are many nonbinary identities.

Nonbinary identities are as real and valid as male and female. As society becomes more understanding, we’re recognizing that gender exists on a spectrum. It’s not simply either/or. Understanding nonbinary identities is an important step towards building a more inclusive world for people of all gender expressions.

Types of Nonbinary Identities

The gender spectrum encompasses many identities outside the male-female binary. Here are a few of the major nonbinary identities:

  • Agender: Agender individuals do not identify with any particular gender. They feel genderless or neutral. Some Agender people reject all labels related to gender, while others use ‘Agender’ as their identity.
  • Bigender: Bigender people identify as two genders, which could include male and female as well as others. Their gender expression may vary, and they can feel as if they have two distinct personas. The genders they identify with may change over time or remain static.
  • Genderfluid: Genderfluid individuals do not exclusively identify as a single fixed gender. Their gender identity shifts and changes over time. A Genderfluid person may feel more male some days, more female other days, or even feel like a mix of both at times. Their pronouns and presentation can vary to match their current gender.
  • Demigender: Demigender people identify partially with one gender but not completely. They feel an attachment to another gender as well. For example, someone may identify as demigirl, meaning they feel partially like a girl or woman but not completely. Demigender people may use pronouns like they/them in addition to she/her or he/him.
  • Pangender: Pangender individuals have multiple gender identities at once. They may identify as all genders simultaneously. Someone who is pangender may use a variety of pronouns interchangeably, like he/him, she/her, and they/them. The prefixes “pan-” and “poly-” both mean “many” or “much”, so pangender and polygender are synonymous.
  • Genderqueer: Genderqueer is an umbrella term for people with nonbinary gender identities. This includes people who identify as both male and female, neither male nor female, or as a gender outside the male-female binary. Some genderqueer people use gender-neutral pronouns like they/them, while others may use a variety of pronouns. 

Do You Still Have Questions About Gender-Fluid vs. Nonbinary 

Do you still have questions about the differences between gender-fluid and nonbinary identities? Or are you looking for support in your journey of self-discovery? Launch Centers is here to help. 

Our caring professionals have experience helping young adults work through questions about gender identity and expression. We provide a safe, judgment-free space to explore what feels right for you.

Call us at (877) 895-3231. We have someone available 24/7 to listen and provide support. Email us at admissions@launchcenters.com. We aim to respond within 24 hours during the week. You don’t have to go through this alone. 

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

Psychiatrist

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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

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