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10 Ways to Navigate Dating as a Non-Binary Person

Love is Love. Every non-binary and gender non-conforming person is unique and may experience their gender differently.

Love and dating as a non-binary person can be challenging. The language used within the sexual health sphere is still heteronormative. Sex and romance continue to cater to cisgender ideals. Even in TV shows and movies, there is not nearly enough representation of gender non-conforming individuals experiencing romantic relationships. The idea of dating can feel frustrating if you exist beyond the gender binary, and you may be unsure how to approach it. 

Here Are 10 Ways to Navigate Dating as a Non-Binary Person 

 

1. Consider adding your gender identity to your dating profile. 

Even though some people do not read every dating profile, being up-front can go a long way. Then you do not have to experience an awkward interaction, or you can block bigots or fetishizers. You can also share your pronouns on your profile if you feel comfortable.  

However, if privacy and safety are a concern, you may not want to share this information. Instead, you can get to know your dates and their politics. 

2. Ask about their views on queer acceptance. 

Once you’ve exchanged messages with a person for a while, decide if you want to keep going. Then, you can ask if they are accepting of gender non-conforming people. If their answer is no, then you’ve dodged a bullet and can move on to someone else. 

3. Think about what you want. 

Determining what you are looking for can match you with like-minded individuals. Whether it’s a casual fling, long-term relationship, a polyamorous relationship, or whatever you are searching for, you want to think clearly about what you want.

If you are just starting your non-binary dating journey or have been dating as non-binary for a while, this advice always applies. Even if you find other queer people you are interested in dating, your desires may not be aligned. That’s why it’s essential to figure out what your relationship goals are first. 

4. Anticipate disappointing dates and interactions. 

According to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, more than 87% of individuals said they would not date a trans person. Even though this statistic is depressing, it means that trans or non-binary people can eliminate that percentage of people that would be a poor match for them.

Dating, in general, can have its fair share of disappointments, but you don’t need to be discouraged every time you have a bad dating experience. 

5. Stay true to yourself.

Since being non-binary allows you to explore your identity and gender, you can create a love for yourself that is true to you. As long as you choose dates for yourself and your wants, you can get creative with how your love story unravels. 

6. Safety is non-negotiable. 

Sadly, we live in a time where safety is a concern for non-binary and trans folks. Since dating as a trans person can be dangerous, you will want to take precautions. The steps you take to protect yourself are ultimately up to you and what’s comfortable. Some enbies may decide to pass as cis when casually dating. However, there is the danger of cishet people having a violent response once they find out, so figure out what will make you feel safe. 

Before you decide to reveal your gender identity, ask yourself if this is a person that you feel safe with when sharing this information. Put your needs first and if you feel threatened, leave the situation or block them on your dating app. If the individual reacts with disgust or feels insulted, decide whether they are worth your time and emotional energy. If you don’t think it’s worth it, then you can walk away.  

7. Date within the community 

Even though non-binary people can date anyone that they prefer, sometimes dating within LGBTQ+ the community can be easier and safer. The dating world is challenging enough for queer people as it is. Having other people in the community to talk to or share experiences with can be cathartic. It can also lead to dates with people who share your values and ideals. 

There are also apps designed specifically for queer people like Lex. It is a text-centered social app created for queer, trans, gender non-conforming, two-spirit, and non-binary people. This app is not just for dating, but for meeting friends as well.  

Here is some background info about Lex:

Lex is short for lexicon. Text first, selfies second.

Lex adheres to a zero-tolerance policy towards creeps: no transphobia, no racism, no fatphobia, no ableism. No hate speech of any kind. We reserve the right to delete posts for any reason. A healthy, loving community is our top priority.

Dating or friendship apps like Lex can create a safer community for queer and gender non-conforming individuals to interact with each other. 

8. Express your wants and needs.

Once you have found a partner or a relationship that works for your needs, you’ll often want to check in with them. Communication is crucial when it comes to relationship success. Also, setting boundaries is essential in relationships. Be sure to check in frequently to make sure you are on the same page. 

If your partner isn’t non-binary, that’s perfectly fine – just be sure you both address your desires and wants. 

9. Know when to say goodbye.

When you date outside the cishet structure, finding a compatible partner can be empowering. Finding trust and connection as a non-binary person may seem difficult to find, but it is possible.

When you find someone who loves and accepts you for your true self, some typical relationship issues can still come up, no matter your gender expression. For instance, your partner may want to be more serious, and you may not be ready. Or, they want a poly relationship, but you want to be monogamous. If your goals do not align, it may be time to part ways. 

10. Know when to lean in. 

If you have found a relationship that is compatible with you, stick with it. Fighting for a partnership that works and is in line with your goals can be powerful. Also, if you are dating casually and it’s working well for you, keep going with it and enjoy the experience.  

 

Choose the Path for How You Want to Date

Every non-binary and gender non-conforming person is unique and experiences their gender differently. By determining your wants, needs, and preferences, you can have a more successful dating life. Also, knowing what makes you comfortable and safe is essential when navigating the world of dating as a non-binary individual. 

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Billie Olsen

MODEL: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.