The Meaning of Enby: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of enby? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word enby, including its definition, usage, word origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word enby mean?

According to Dictionary, Very Well Mind, and LGBTQ Experiment, enby refers to a person who is nonbinary. This is a phonetic pronunciation of NB, which is short for nonbinary. NB and enby are both considered abbreviations or shortened forms of nonbinary. Someone who is nonbinary does not identify as male or female. Nonbinary people have been around for a long time, but the term nonbinary came into the Western mainstream in the 2000s with greater visibility and inclusion of gender diversity. An enby person may use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them, or other such neopronouns like ze-zim. Some intersex people also identify as having non-binary gender identities, since they were both with a combination of male and female sex organs and hormones. 

Non-binary people fall under the banner of transgender people. While non-binary genders do not identigy as either male or female in their gender expression, trans men and trans women may identify as being a part of the gender binary. These people may consider themselves MTF, or male to female, or FTM, which means female to male. People of any gender may choose to have surgery that can make them more comfortable and combat gender dysphoria. Someone who is not trans is considered cis. Cisgender people identify with the gender identiy they were assigned at birth. 

The term enby itself was first used on Urban Dictionary in 2013 and si attributed to the blogging social media platform Tumblr, where people were known for transgender and genderqueer activism and community. This term was further popularized in the mid to late 2010s when numerous celebrities came out to their fans as nonbinary on Twitter including actor Bex Taylor-Klaus from The Killing and pop singer Demi Lovato. The enby, or nonbinary flag contains horizontal stripes in yellow, white, purple, and black. 

What are synonyms of the word enby?

According to Women’s Health Mag, there are many different types of people that fall under the nonbinary umbrella term. These people who do not identify with binary genders or gender identities might classify themselves as agender, genderqueer, bigender, gender-nonconforming, or genderfluid people, amongst other terms. There are also examples of nonbinary people in Native American cultures and Southeast Asian cultures. These are referred to as two-spirit and hijra, respectively.

What is other terminology used in the LGBTQ community?

According to New York Times and LGBTQIA Health Education, there are numerous different terms that one may hear within the LGBTQ community. Below is a list of these terms.

  •  Queer
  •  Top surgery
  •  Cisgender
  •  Minority stress
  •  Transgender
  •  Transmasculine
  •  Men who have sex with men/Women who have sex with women (MSM/WSW)
  •  Gender role
  •  Agender
  •  Bigender
  •  Asexual
  •  Aromantic
  •  Cross-sex hormone therapy
  •  Pangender
  •  Sexual orientation
  •  Coming out
  •  Homophobia
  •  Gender dysphoria
  •  Assigned sex at birth
  •  Bisexual
  •  Binding
  •  Structural stigma
  •  Heteronormativity
  •  Genderqueer
  •  Intersex
  •  Drag
  •  Transphobia
  •  Gender fluid
  •  Gender binary
  •  Polyamorous
  •  Straight
  •  Transition
  •  Tucking
  •  Intersectionality
  •  Social stigma
  •  Transfeminine
  •  Outing
  •  Transsexual
  •  Same gender loving (SGL)
  •  Heterosexual
  •  Pansexual
  •  Gender identity
  •  Gender affirming surgery (GAS)
  •  Two-Spirit 
  •  Ally
  •  Gender non-confirming
  •  Questioning
  •  Trans woman/transgender woman/male-to-female (MTF)
  •  Bottom surgery
  •  Gay
  •  Biphobia
  •  Lesbian
  •  Same-sex attraction (SSA)
  •  QPOC
  •  Disorders of Sex Development
  •  Trans man/transgender man/female-to-male (FTM) 

How can the word enby be used in a sentence?

The word enby can be used in many different sentences and settings. This is usually something that someone would refer to themselves as. Do not refer to someone else as enby unless they have let you know that that is okay. Below are a few different examples of using the term enby in a sentence. Jax and Jules are at a meeting of an LGBTQ group on their college campus. They have just met at the mixer.

Jules: Hi, I’m Jules! My pronouns are she/they. Nice to meet you!

Jax: Hey Jules! I’m Jax. My pronouns are they/them.

Jules: So nice to meet another enby!

Jax: I know! I saw them giving out pronoun pins at the front. Do you want to go get some with me before the speaker begins?

Jules: Sure!

Here, Jules and Jax discuss their pronouns. They both identify as nonbinary, so Jules uses the term enby to describe them. Next, Jax is signing up for medical services on campus. They notice an issue with the form.

Jax: Hi, quick question on this form. It’s having me put down a gender but only lets me select male or female.

Nurse: And?

Jax: I’m enby – nonbinary – I don’t identify as being either male or female. The services I am looking for do not require any sort of specific treatment that would be determined by my assigned sex at birth.

Nurse: You’re right. Why don’t you just write it to the side and I’ll make a note to the facilities that we should add that as an option to the form. I’m sorry about that!

Jax: No worries!  

Overall, the word enby is the shortened form of nonbinary. This is an abbreviation for someone who does not consider themselves to identify with either the male or female gender binary. Non-binary individuals may prefer the pronouns they/them, but make sure you ask someone for their pronouns before assuming. At the end of the day, it’s not about chromosomes – it’s about respect and understanding. Do you best and be respectful, and no one will be offended.

Sources:

  1. Enby | Dictionary 
  2. What Does It Mean to Be Nonbinary or Enby? Reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW | Very Well Mind 
  3. What’s the difference between “enby,” “NB,” and “non-binary”? | LGBTQ Experiment 
  4. What It Means to Be Non-Binary, Enby, or Genderqueer, Defined | Women’s Health Mag 
  5. The ABCs of LGBTQIA+  | New York Times
  6. Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams | LGBTQIA Health Education