Pride has a long and storied history since the Stonewall riot in 1969. Each year, the celebration grows bigger and more inclusive.
Although the early Prides were known simply as “gay pride”, today the event celebrates a diverse range of differences in sexuality and gender.
Each year, cities across the world hold Pride parades, proudly flying the flags that represent the LGBTQ+ community. The nonbinary pride flag is one of these wonderful banners.
First, Let’s Talk About Gender
People have known for a long time that gender and sex do not always coincide. Sex is an assignment usually determined by the genitalia with which people are observed to display at birth: male, female, or intersex.
Gender, on the other hand, is a concept created by human societies. Gender encompasses all the societal ideas of what each sex can or should look like or act like. Gender is determined by a whole set of factors, including personal identity, brain structure, hormones, chromosomes, internal and external genitalia, gonads, gene expression, skeletal structure, secondary sex characteristics, and more.
Thus, the gender spectrum is an understanding that gender is not binary (female/male), but rather a spectrum of biological, mental and emotional traits that exist along a continuum.
Today, numerous scientific fields, including biology, endocrinology, physiology, genetics, neuroscience, and reproductive science, have confirmed that sex and gender exist as a spectrum, both for humans and across the animal kingdom.
What Does It Mean to Be Nonbinary?
Nonbinary is a term used by people who reject the idea of a gender binary (male/female). Nonbinary people may identify as both man and woman, they may identify as genderless, or they may alternate between gender identifications over time.
Personally, I identify as nonbinary, because I identify with a spectrum of gender identities.
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Because nonbinary describes a person’s identity, it’s also possible that they may have a different understanding of the term altogether.
Because the term can mean so many different things to different people, the best way to approach it is to ask someone who uses it what it means to them.
History of the Nonbinary Pride Flag
In 2010, writer and video artist Marilyn Roxie created a flag for genderqueer people to carry at the Pride parade. The flag consists of three horizontal stripes of lavender, white, and green.
In the genderqueer pride flag, the colors each represent a different aspect of genderqueer identity. Roxie designed the flag to be inclusive of nonbinary people.
Lavender represents a mix of the traditional pink and blue gender colors. White represents gender neutrality. Green, the inverse of lavender, symbolizes those who identify outside the gender binary of male or female.
Though genderqueer is a broadly inclusive term, many people who identify as nonbinary feel that the term does not apply to them directly. They called for their own flag to specifically represent the nonbinary community.
In 2014, Kye Rowan created the nonbinary pride flag, not to replace the genderqueer flag, but to be flown alongside it.
The 4 Colors of the Nonbinary Flag
The colors of the nonbinary flag are yellow, white, purple, and black. Like the original rainbow pride flag, the colors extend horizontally across the banner.
The colors each symbolize a different subgroup of people who identify as nonbinary.
1. Yellow signifies something on its own or people who identify outside of the cisgender binary of male or female.
2. White, a color that consists of all colors mixed together, stands for multigender people.
3. Purple, similar to the lavender color in the genderqueer flag, represents people who identify as a blending of male and female genders.
4. Black, or the absence of color, signifies those who are agender or who feel they do not have a gender.
Taken together, these four colors aim to include and specifically depict the experience of nonbinary people. Nonbinary people have embraced Rowan’s design. You will see the flag being carried at Pride parades around the world.
The Rainbow of Gender Identities
Not all people whose gender falls outside the gender binary are considered nonbinary. Definitions aren’t yet precise, especially since some people will identify with a couple of different descriptions.
Here is a quick guide to some of increasingly common gender identities:
Gender Non-conforming (GNC) people are the original nonconformists! This term is an “umbrella term” that encompasses many gender identities, though some people feel comfortable identifying themselves with this term itself. Gender non-conforming people do not adhere to or recognize traditional gender expectations.
Nonbinary people don’t identify within the double-sided gender coin of male or female. Nonbinary people might move fluidly between the two traditional genders or might identify outside of that binary altogether.
Genderqueer is another broad identity term. It includes any person who identifies outside of the gender “norm” of male or female.
Pangender means a person identifies as all genders: male, female, intersex, non-binary, or any other gender. The prefix “pan” comes from the ancient Greek word meaning all.
Genderfluid people move fluidly between gender identities. Genderfluid people identify as male for some period of their life and female at others. Some others identify as agender or multigender.
Multigender is another type of nonbinary identity in which a person identifies with more than one gender at a time.
Transgender means a person’s gender identity doesn’t match with the sex they were assigned at birth.
As you can see, the concept of gender doesn’t lie along a spectrum so much as it creates its own universe.
Meaning of the Nonbinary Pride Flag
Pride has grown into a month-long commemoration of pride in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and “+” peoples in cities across the world. This article has explored some of what that “+” stands for.
The Pride celebration holds great significance for members of the LGBTQ+ community along with the people who love them.
The nonbinary pride flag represents many of the people who will be participating in Pride parades worldwide, including Jonathan Van Ness, Alok Vaid-Menon, Sam Smith, Bex Taylor Klaus, and myself, as well as thousands and thousands of others.
Will you wave the nonbinary flag during Pride this year? Whether you identify as nonbinary or want to support someone you love, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful flag.
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