The Trevor Project released a new research brief Tuesday about nonbinary youth in celebration of International Nonbinary People’s Day on July 14. The organization found that about one in four LGBTQ+ youth identifies as nonbinary.
According to the group’s research, 26 percent of the sample of 35,000 identified as nonbinary — and an additional 20 percent responded that they weren’t sure or were questioning if they were.
Data for the study came from The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. The organization supports LGBTQ+ youth in crisis.
Nonbinary, as the Trevor Project defines, refers to someone whose gender identity does not fit within traditional gender constructs as only male and only female. The group notes that trans and nonbinary identities can overlap, the two terms aren’t synonymous. In fact, the organization found half of their sample identifies as nonbinary and transgender.
Thirty-three percent of those who did identify as nonbinary reported using pronouns such as “they/them” and five percent of them reported using neopronouns such as “xe/xem.”
“Young people are using a variety of language to describe the nuances of their gender identity outside of the binary construction of gender. These data emphasize that. While there is certainly an overlap, youth understand ‘transgender’ and ‘nonbinary’ as distinct identity terms — and you cannot assume one’s identity simply based on the pronouns they use,” said Jonah DeChants, a research scientist at The Trevor Project.
In a statement, the organization said that the research is a tool for educating teachers, medical professionals, and youth-serving groups, and adults on the complexities of nonbinary identities. This includes the language youth use to express their identity and how they can be affirmed.
The Trevor Project found that nonbinary youth who reported that “no one” respected their pronouns were 2.5 times more likely to attempt to die by suicide than those who said most people respected their pronouns.