More non-binary people in Europe and US than ever thought: 5.3% of Gen Z identify as non-binary

A new Mastercard study shows improved gender acceptance, even though 74% of non-binary individuals have experienced physical or verbal abuse

· Almost half (49%) understand if people do not want to identify as male or female.
· Non-binary people feel unsafe when going out (63%), shopping (59%) or even in their own home (51%).
· There are major differences in acceptance between countries: The Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Portugal are the most positive towards non-binary persons, while the Czech Republic, Israel and Slovakia are the least.

On July 14, the International Day of Non-binary People draws attention to the issues facing non-binary people worldwide. Little data is available on the non-binary community, with 5.3% of Gen Z and 2.8% of the entire population identifying themselves as non-binary. This is according to research conducted by Motivaction on behalf of Mastercard, focusing on the experiences of non-binary individuals and society’s perception of this community in 16 countries in Europe and North America. The research builds on the launch of True Name, a card feature that allows people to put their chosen name on their debit card instead of their birth name.

Since the launch of True Name in the U.S. in 2019, Mastercard will fight misrepresentation. By enabling cardholders to use their chosen name on their debit card, the card feature alleviates a major pain point for many in the LGBTQ+ community.


Gender acceptance is slowly gaining ground: almost half (49%) of those surveyed indicate that they understand if people do not want to identify as male or female. However, we are not there yet: 74% of non-binary people have been bullied, discriminated against or verbally abused. Non-binary people feel unsafe in different situations, for example when going out (63%) or while shopping (59%). In fact, more than half (51%) of non-binary people feel unsafe in their own homes. Also, almost half of the non-binary people (44%) report having depressive thoughts.


Recognition of different gender identities also plays an important role in the business world. 57% of respondents think it is important that companies and organizations address them in a way that respects their identity. Two thirds (66%) also find it no problem if companies address them in a gender-neutral way.


While acceptance of non-binary people seems to be on the rise overall, there is a clear dichotomy between the 16 countries. In particular, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and Portugal consistently support non-binary people in their responses. However, the Czech Republic, Israel and Slovakia consistently show the lowest acceptance of non-binary people. For example, 29% of Slovaks say they understand if people do not want to identify themselves as women or men, compared to no less than 60% of the Dutch. Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, the US and Canada show differing responses to statements about non-binary persons.

“There is still a long way to go in terms of acceptance. Non-binary people feel unsafe when shopping, going out and even at home,” says a spokesperson of Mastercard. “As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, we have an opportunity to create real change that helps address issues specific to the non-binary community. True Name is a promising first step towards enabling people to use their true name safely, easily and with pride. Now we are calling on the industry to apply these standards for everyone.”

This research underlines that there is still a lot of work to be done for the emancipation of non-binary people, there is more than ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and all the stereotypes associated with it. It is important to reflect on this on this International Day for Non-Binary People. Let’s work together towards an inclusive society in which there is room for everyone.