Ward L & Lucas S (2023) "You're trying to put yourself in boxes, which doesn't work": Exploring non-binary youth's gender identity development using feminist relational discourse analysis. Journal of Gender Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2023.2172557
There are growing numbers of non-binary youth in the U.K. with increasing representation, whilst simultaneously forms of gender diversity are being heavily regulated. Non-binary youth face unique challenges regarding their gender development due to age-based expectations for single and stable identities, and the gender binary. This article explores the regulation of gender identity borders and how non-binary youth navigate these. Ten non-binary youth living in the U.K. aged 16–21 years old took part in semi-structured individual interviews. Feminist Relational Discourse Analysis was used to explore forms of regulation through discourse analysis whilst also tracing the personal experiences through the discursive realms by constructing I poems. The analysis highlights how a non-binary gender provides freedom from the gender binary for identity development and understanding of oneself in context. However, the freedom provided by non-binary identities is precarious and risks being regulated by individualism and attempts to shame, which cause youth to censor their gender diversities. The research contributes to non-binary theory by focusing on the intersection of age to highlight the discursive realms and voiced experiences of non-binary identity development.
Non-binary; gender; youth; identity development; feminist relational discourse analysis
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Journal of Gender Studies