Genderqueer (GQ), also termed non-binary (NB), is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:
- having an overlap of, or indefinite lines between, gender identity;
- having two or more genders (being bigender, trigender, or pangender);
- having no gender (being agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois);
- moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); or
- being third gender or other-gendered, a category which includes those who do not place a name to their gender.
Definitions and identity
In addition to being an umbrella term, genderqueer has been used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity, i.e., those who "queer" gender, expressing it non-normatively, or overall not conforming into the binary genders, man and woman. Androgynous (also androgyne) is frequently used as a descriptive term for people in this category, though genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression, and not all identify as androgynous. However, the term has been applied by those describing what they see as a gender ambiguity. Some references use the term transgender broadly, in such a way that it includes genderqueer/non-binary people.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Gender Spectrum use the term gender-expansive to convey "a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system".
A person who is genderfluid prefers to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single gender. They may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same time.
An agender person ('a−' meaning "without"), also called genderless, genderfree, non-gendered, or ungendered, is someone who identifies as having no gender or being without a gender identity. Although this category includes a broad range of identities which do not conform to traditional gender norms, scholar Finn Enke states that people who identify with any of these positions may not necessarily self-identify as transgender. Agender people have no specific set of pronouns; singular they is typically used, but it is not the default. Neutrois and agender were two of 50 available custom genders on Facebook, which were added on 13 February 2014. Agender is also available as a gender option on OkCupid since 17 November 2014.
Some genderqueer people are medically treated for gender dysphoria with surgery and/or hormones as trans men and women are. The World Health Organization considers sex and gender to be distinct concepts. Some genderqueer people identify as a male woman or a female man, or combine genderqueer with another gender option. Gender identity is separate from sexual or romantic orientation, and genderqueer people have a variety of sexual orientations, just like transgender and cisgender people do.
Pronouns and titles
Some genderqueer people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns. Usage of singular "they", "their" and "them" is common, and one, ze, sie, hir, co, and ey are used as well. Some others prefer the conventional gender-specific pronouns "her" or "him", prefer to be referred to alternately as he and she, or prefer to use only their name and not use pronouns at all. Many genderqueer people prefer additional neutral language, such as the title "Mx." instead of Mr. or Ms.
Multiple countries legally recognize non-binary or third gender classifications. In some countries, such classifications may only be available to intersex people, born with sex characteristics that "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". In other countries, they may be only available to transgender people, people with gender identities that differ from sex assigned at birth.
Some non-western societies have long recognized transgender people as a third gender, though this may not (or may only recently) include formal legal recognition. In western societies, Australia may have been the first country to recognize third classifications, following recognition of Alex MacFarlane as having indeterminate sex, reported in 2003. Transgender advocate Norrie May-Welby was recognized as having unspecified status in 2014.
In the United States, on Intersex Awareness Day (October 26) 2015, Lambda Legal filed a landmark federal discrimination lawsuit against the United States Department of State for denying non-binary intersex navy veteran, Dana Zzyym, Associate Director of OII-USA, a passport.An Oregon circuit court ruled in July 2016 that Jamie Shupe could legally change gender to non-binary. On September 26, 2016, intersex California resident Sara Kelly Keenan became the second person in the United States to legally change her gender to non-binary. On November 22, 2016, the District Court for the District of Colorado ruled in favor of Zzyym, stating that the State Department violated federal law. The ruling stated that the court found “no evidence that the Department followed a rational decision-making process in deciding to implement its binary-only gender passport policy,” and ordered the U.S. Passport Agency to reconsider its earlier decision.
In the United States, the majority of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey chose "A gender not listed here". The 'Not Listed Here' respondents were 9 percentage-points (33 percent) more likely to report forgoing healthcare due to fear of discrimination than the general sample (36 percent compared to 27 percent). 90 percent reported experiencing anti-trans bias at work and 43 percent reported having attempted suicide.
There have been various flags used in the genderqueer community to represent various identities. The genderqueer pride flag was designed in 2011. Lavender represents androgyny or simply queerness, white represents agender identity, and green represents those whose identities which are defined outside of the binary. Non-binary people, who fall under the genderqueer umbrella, also have their own pride flag, created in 2014. Yellow represents people whose gender exists outside of the binary, purple is those who feel their gender is a mixture or between male and female, and the black represents people who feel as if they have no gender. Genderfluid people, who also fall under the genderqueer umbrella, have their own flag as well. The pink stripe represents femininity, the white stripe represents lack of gender, the purple represents mixed gender or androgyny, the black represents all other genders, and the blue represents masculinity.
- Usher, Raven, ed. (2006). North American Lexicon of Transgender Terms. San Francisco. ISBN 978-1-879194-62-5. OCLC 184841392.
- Brill, Stephanie A.; Pepper, Rachel (28 June 2008). The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. San Francisco: Cleis Press. ISBN 978-1-57344-318-0. OCLC 227570066.
- Winter, Claire Ruth (2010). Understanding Transgender Diversity: A Sensible Explanation of Sexual and Gender Identities. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-4563-1490-3. OCLC 703235508.
- Beemyn, Brett Genny (2008). "Genderqueer". glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. Chicago: glbtq, Inc. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Dahir, Mubarak (25 May 1999). "Whose Movement Is It?". The Advocate. Here Media: 52.
- Girshick, Lori B. (2008). Transgender Voices: Beyond Women and Men. Hanover: University Press of New England. ISBN 978-1-58465-645-6. OCLC 183162406.
- Johanna Schorn. "Taking the "Sex" out of Transsexual: Representations of Trans Identities in Popular Media" (PDF). Inter-Disciplinary.Net. Universität zu Köln. p. 1. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
The term transgender is an umbrella term "and generally refers to any and all kinds of variation from gender norms and expectations" (Stryker 19). Most often, the term transgender is used for someone who feels that the sex assigned to them at birth does not reflect their own gender identity. They may identify as the gender ‘opposite’ to their assigned gender, or they may feel that their gender identity is fluid, or they may reject all gender categorizations and identify as agender or genderqueer.
- Marc E. Vargo (30 November 2011). "A Review of " Please select your gender: From the invention of hysteria to the democratizing of transgenderism "" (PDF). Journal of GLBT Family Studies. New York/London: Routledge. 7 (5): 2 (493). ISSN 1550-4298. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2011.623982. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
up to three million U. S. citizens regard themselves as transgender, a term referring to those whose gender identities are at odds with their biological sex. The term is an expansive one, however, and may apply to other individuals as well, from the person whose behavior purposely and dramatically diverges from society's traditional male/female roles to the "agender", "bigender" or "third gender" person whose self-definition lies outside of the male/female binary altogether. In short, those counted under this term constitute a wide array of people who do not conform to, and may actively challenge, conventional gender norms.
- Kirstin Cronn-Mills (2014). "IV. Trans*spectrum. Identities". Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-4677-4796-7. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
Many different individuals fall under what experts call the trans* spectrum, or the trans* umbrella."I'm trans*" and "I'm transgender" are ways these individuals might refer to themselves. But there are distinctions among different trans* identities. […] Androgynous individuals may not identify with either side of the gender binary. Other individuals consider themselves agender, and they may feel they have no gender at all.
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Gender Spectrum, Supporting and Caring for our Gender-Expansive Youth, accessed 21 January 2016
- Cronn-Mills, Kirstin (2015). Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books. p. 24. ISBN 0-7613-9022-7.
- McGuire, Peter (9 November 2015). "Beyond the binary: what does it mean to be genderfluid?". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "LGBTQ Needs Assessment" (PDF). Encompass Network. April 2013. pp. 52–53. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- "Gender alphabet" (PDF). Safe Homes. p. 1. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Vargo, Marc E. (2011). "A Review of "Please select your gender: From the invention of hysteria to the democratizing of transgenderism"". Journal of GLBT Family Studies. 7 (5): 493–494. doi:10.1080/1550428x.2011.623982.
- Cronn-Mills, Kirstin (1 September 2014). Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 978-1-4677-4796-7.
- Schorn, Johanna (22 February 2016). "Taking the "Sex" out of Transsexual: Representations of Trans Identities in Popular Media".
- Anne Enke, ed. (2012). "Note on terms and concepts". Transfeminist Perspectives In and Beyond Transgender and Gender Studies. Temple University Press. pp. 16–20, see pp. 18–9. ISBN 978-1-4399-0748-1.
- Sojwal, Senti (16 September 2015). "What Does "Agender" Mean? 6 Things To Know About People With Non-Binary Identities". Bustle. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Facebook sex changes: which one of 50 genders are you?. The Daily Telegraph. 14 February 2014.
- "OkCupid expands gender and sexuality options". PBS NewsHour. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- "Transgender (adj.)". Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology. National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Transgender Glossary of Terms". GLAAD Media Reference Guide. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "WHO – World Health Organization". who.int.
- Walsh, Reuben (December 2010). "More T, vicar? My experiences as a genderqueer person of faith". All God's Children. Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. 2 (3).
- Stryker, Susan (2008). Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-224-5. OCLC 183914566.
- Feinberg, Leslie (1996). Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7940-9. OCLC 33014093.
- Ruth Pearce (21 July 2011). "Non-gendered titles see increased recognition". Lesbilicious. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "One Who Fights For an Other". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Geschlechtseintrag Inter/Divers: Beschwerdebegründung beim BGH eingereicht (Gender marker "inter/other": Reasons for appeal lodged with Federal Court of Justice)". dritte-option.de. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (October 24, 2016), End violence and harmful medical practices on intersex children and adults, UN and regional experts urge
- Regmi, Esan (2016). Stories of Intersex People from Nepal. Kathmandu.
- "Pakistani eunuchs to have distinct gender". BBC News. December 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
- "No sex for me, please! Ex-transsexual Australian Norrie May-Welby is first legally genderless person", New York Daily News. 16 March 2010.
- "Briton is recognised as world's first officially genderless person", The Telegraph. 15 Mar 2010.
- "Lambda Legal Sues U.S. State Department on Behalf of Intersex Citizen Denied Passport". Lambda Legal. October 26, 2015.
- O'Hara, Mary Emily (June 10, 2016). "'Nonbinary' is now a legal gender, Oregon court rules". The Daily Dot. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
- "Californian becomes second US citizen granted nonbinary gender status". NBCnews.com. June 10, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
- Lavers, Michael (November 23, 2016). "Judge rules in favor of intersex passport applicant". Washington Blade.
- "Legal Documents]]". Lambda Legal. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
- Harrison, Jack; Grant, Jaime; Herman, Jody L. "A Gender Not Listed Here: Genderqueers, Gender Rebels, and OtherWise in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey" (PDF).
- "He, She or They? » The Commuter". ncccommuter.org. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- "Flags and Symbols" (PDF). www.amherst.edu. Amherst. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- "Gender and Sexuality Awareness Flags". David Mariner. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- "8 Things Non-Binary People Need to Know". Let's Queer Things Up!. 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- "Gender-fluid added to the Oxford English Dictionary". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
- Bernstein Sycamore, Mattilda, ed. (2006). Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. Emeryville: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-184-2. OCLC 50389309.
- Bornstein, Kate; Bergman, S. Bear, eds. (2010). Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (Reprint ed.). Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-308-2. OCLC 837948378.
- Fine, Cordelia (2011). Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference (Reprint ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-34024-2. OCLC 449865367.
- Hines, Melissa (2005). Brain Gender. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518836-3. OCLC 846105995.
- Nestle, Joan; Howell, Clare; Wilchins, Riki Anne, eds. (2002). GenderQueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary. Los Angeles: Alyson Books. ISBN 978-1-55583-730-3. OCLC 50389309.
- Peterson, Tim Trace; Tolbert, T. C., eds. (2013). Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Callicoon: Nightboat Books. ISBN 978-1-937658-10-6. OCLC 839307399.
- Scout, Ph.D. (23 July 2013). "(A) Male, (B) Female, (C) Both, (D) Neither". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Stryker, Susan; Whittle, Stephen, eds. (2006). The Transgender Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-58005-184-2. OCLC 50389309.