Okay, so there’s been some talk of coming up with a term for non-binary people along the lines of ‘Sapphic’ (for women who love women) and ‘Achillean’ (for men who love men), to describe non-binary people who are romantically, sexually, and/or emotionally attracted to other non-binary people. People have suggested ‘Dionysian’ (based on Dionysus, a patron of intersex and transgender people), ‘Adonian’ and ‘Iphisian’, but we’ve noticed major flaws in each of these terms. I did some digging and came up with some ideas.
I want to play off the idea of the word ‘lesbian’ which refers to an island that was the home of perhaps the earliest Western example of a tradition of gay female love poetry. I suggest using either ‘cypric/cyprian’ or ‘paphic/paphian’ (common nouns, so they’re not supposed to be capitalised), based on the titles of Aphrodite.
But why Aphrodite? Wasn’t she a symbol of female sexuality? Well, not entirely. On more than one occasion, Aphrodite took on a more masculine form to seduce men, the most famous example being Hermes, who himself is also a symbol of androgyny. This is a perfect example of two androgynous entities in love, which is as close to what we’re trying to signify as the Ancient Greeks can offer. The problem is that we can’t use the name of the product of this love, because that would be Hermaphroditus* and Eros, both of whom have already given their names to two modern English words that do not fit right in this situation. (It’s a shame, too, because that would have been a perfect solution…)
So we have to dig further. Aphrodite herself was often portrayed in a variety of gendered forms, such as Aphroditus (a bearded woman or a woman with a penis) and Venus Castina (a patron goddess of Roman transgender women). Rituals centered around Aphroditus took place on the island of Cyprus, where Aphrodite was said to be born (specifically in the town of Paphos). Aphroditus’ rituals involved cross dressing and other gender-variant behaviours, symbolising both androgyny and love. Therefore, we could take the name of either Cyprus or Paphos for our purposes, just as the island of Lesbos gave its name to gay women. The words ‘Cyprian’ and ‘Paphian’ both already describe illicit love or promiscuity, although they are rare and obsolete. ‘Paphic’ rhymes too closely with ‘Sapphic’, but ‘Cypric’ (or ‘cypric’ with a lowercase ‘c’, the preferred form) is not even a word already. Why not coin this word for the purpose of describing a non-binary person who is attracted to other non-binary people, regardless of attraction to binary genders?
*(I feel like I have to mention this: I am not advocating the use of the word ‘hermaphrodite’ or glossing over its uses against intersex people; as an intersex person myself, I feel like it’s necessary to make sure everyone understands this.)