On the recognition of the non-binary gender identity

Viktor Stuyck, February 2, 2022.

Interdisciplinary Studies – Gender Studies

Abstract: The term ‘non-binary’ became increasingly well-known and widely spread over the past few years, this however does not mean that it has been properly recognized, let alone emancipated. This essay looks at the recognition of the non-binary gender identity by dominant systems and its shortcomings on a structural level. A focus is put on the history of non-binary identities around the world, the influence of Western-(European) culture and imperialism and the structural flaws of a system that uses an ‘X’ or ‘other’ gender category. Examining these reveals that non-binary approaches of gender have existed for a long time but were largely dominated by (Western) binary power structures and imperialist tendencies. The decisions made by dominant systems to acknowledge the rising demand for recognition of these identities has been counterproductive and confines people back into a binary rather than granting them the emancipation they long for.

Keywords. — Gender identity, non-binary approach, gender category, emancipation.

Disclaimer: The views, information and opinions in the written publications are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those shared by the Eutopia Student Think Tank (EUSTT) nor the EUTOPIA Alliance.



Abrams, M. L. (2018, December 21). What Does It Mean to Identify as Nonbinary?.


Healthline. Retrieved from :


Bivens, R. (2015). The gender binary will not be deprogrammed: Ten years of coding gender on Facebook. New Media & Society, 19(6), 880-898.


Butler, J. (1999). Gender Trouble. New York: Taylor & Francis.


Campbell, J. (2021, June 24). The Hijra Community and Decolonizing Gender. SEWA-AIFW: Retrieved from:


Chini, M. (2020, July 04). Sex will be removed from Dutch ID-cards. The Brussels Times. Retrieved from: removed-from-dutch-id-cards/


De Morgen. (2021, November 30). Binnenkort geen vermelding van het geslacht meer op onze identiteitskaart. De Morgen. Retrieved from: geen-vermelding-van-het-geslacht-meer-op-onze-identiteitskaart~b150dad7/


Fewster, P. (n.d.). Two-Spirit Community. Researching for LGBTQ Health. Retrieved from:


Hawthorne, S. (2005). Gender and Religion: History of Study. In L. Jones, M. Eliade, R. Ackerman, Thomson Gale (Firm), & C. J. Adams, Encyclopedia of Religion, 5 (pp. 3310-3318). Detroit: Thomson Gale.


Nicholas, L. (2014). Queer Post-Gender Ethics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Nicholas, L. (2018). Queer ethics and fostering positive mindsets toward non-binary gender, genderqueer, and gender ambiguity. International Journal of Transgenderism, 20(2-3), 169- 180.


Reuters. (2020, July 09). M, F, nothing? Netherlands mulls erasing gender from ID cards. Reuters. Retrieved from: idUSKBN24A1UN


Reuters. (2021, October 28). U.S. issues first passport with 'X' gender marker. Reuters. Retrieved from: 27/


Richards, C., Bouman, W. P., Seal, L., Barker, M. J., Nieder, T. O., & T’Sjoen, G. (2016). Non-binary or genderqueer genders. International Review of Psychiatry, 28(1), 95-102.

Vijlbrief, A., Saharso, S., & Ghorashi, H. (2019). Transcending the gender binary: Gender non-binary young adults in Amsterdam. Journal of LGBT Youth, 17(1), 89-106.


Wiseman, M., & Davidson, S. (2017). Problems with binary gender discourse: Using context to promote flexibility and connection in gender identity. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(4), 528-537.


Y. Gavriel, A., & Berger, I. (2016). Cisgenderism. In W. Wong, N. Naples, R. Hoogland, & M. Wickramasinghe, The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (pp. 1-3). Hoboken: Wiley.


Viktor Stuyck

Bachelor’s student of Social Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. With his background in visual arts, he has always preferred an interdisciplinary approach to studying the subjects surrounding and interesting him.

Read another recommended article...