New Book – Life Isn’t Binary – O...

New Book – Life Isn’t Binary – Out Today!

My new book with my co-author Alex IantaffiLife Isn’t Binary – is out today. Like Rewriting the Rules, Life Isn’t Binary is an idea I’d had for a long time before writing it. Like many ideas it started with a ‘what if…?’ Rewriting the Rules was ‘what if a self-help book centred wider structures, systems and cultural messages as the problem, instead of individual people?’ Life Isn’t Binary was ‘what if we took the non-binary approach that many people are now applying to sexuality and gender and applied it to everything?’

My main reason for not writing it sooner was that I knew there were knowledges, practices, and themes that a book like this would need to cover which I didn’t have enough understanding or experience of myself. Fortunately I now have my awesome co-author Alex, and we were looking for a follow-up to How to Understand Your Gender. Alex and I have pretty similar views, but we come from different backgrounds in all kinds of ways. We bring together different spiritual traditions (e.g. Pagan and Buddhist), different activisms (e.g. intersectional feminist, queer, disability, sex critical), different academic backgrounds (e.g. psychology, sociology, philosophy, literature, health), and different therapeutic approaches (e.g. existential, mindfulness, systemic, and somatic).

Most of these areas have something useful to contribute to the idea of thinking, relating, and living non-binary. We’re aware – of course – that there are many other schools of thought and traditions that would also be valuable but which we don’t know about personally. We hope that people with those understandings (from other faiths, philosophies, cultural contexts, etc.) will be able to bring them into dialogue with the materials in the book.

The book starts by taking you through why a non-binary approach is a useful way of understanding sexuality and gender. Alex and I have a background in bi politics, and we both identify as non-binary/genderqueer these days, so we talk about our own experiences as well as expanding out beyond the gay/straight and male/female binaries. Then we explore how the non-binary approach might also be helpful in thinking about how we do our relationships, how we think to our bodies and identities, how we relate with our emotions, and how we think about life, the universe, and everything.

You can listen to Alex and me talking more about Life Isn’t Binary here.

If you want a taster of the book, here are a few of my blog posts which cover non-binary sexualities, genders, relationships, feelings, and thinking:

If it sounds up your street please do grab a copy of Life Isn’t Binary today.

Meg-John (MJ) Barker (they/them) is a writer, zine-maker, collaborator, contemplative practitioner, and friend. They are the author of a number of zines and popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including graphic guides to Queer, Gender, and Sexuality (with Jules Scheele), and How To Understand Your Gender, Sexuality and Relationships (with Alex Iantaffi).


  1. Paul Thurtle

    8 July

    I couldn’t wait for this book to come out…. it was like waiting for the next Harry Potter book!
    I found this a really helpful book on many levels. For me personally, it opened up my thinking about bisexuality and many, many other topics. I now see that my views were very outdated and needed challenging. This book did that – but in a kind, sensitive and encouraging way. I love the way Meg-John and Alex write – it feels like their words reach out from the page to you!
    My binary thinking on so many levels has been well and truly challenged (I’m glad to say) – this book celebrates life on an ever-changing spectrum. As Dr Carl Rogers said: “A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.” (On Becoming a Person).
    The ‘Reflection Points’ throughout the book are very helpful and contain various questions which make the book very interactive – I found myself constantly checking my thinking process and my views.
    The end of chapter reference sections were particularly helpful. In fact, all the referencing in the book is great and very accessible! I have ordered some more books, re-read material I already had and visited some of the websites suggested.
    Page 73 REALLY made me think…. it talks about nicknames: at least three female friends have MALE nicknames. We don’t bat an eyelid at this and yet if a Trans person wishes to do this everyone suddenly thinks it unusual. How blinkered and fickle we can be.
    I have used material from this book with two of my clients during therapy sessions. This is a book I shall be using for a long time to come.

  2. Oh thank you so much Paul. We really appreciate the feedback. That’s such a good example about people with nicknames, and I’m so glad you liked the reflection points and extra materials. The Rogers quote is spot on 🙂