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Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman, 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 and sexual and romantic orientation.
- two or more genders (bigender, trigender, pangender);
- without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender; neutrois);
- moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);
- third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender;
Some genderqueer people also desire physical modification or hormones to suit their preferred expression. Many genderqueer people see gender and sex as separable aspects of a person and sometimes identify as a male woman, a female man, or a male/female/intersex genderqueer person. Gender identity is defined as one's internal sense of being a woman, man, both, or neither, while sexual orientation refers to an individual's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to others. As such, genderqueer people may have a variety of sexual orientations, as with transgender and cisgender people.
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. Androgynous 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 genderqueer people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns such as one, ze, sie, hir, co, ey or singular "they", "their" and "them", while others prefer the conventional binary pronouns "her" or "him". Some genderqueer people prefer to be referred to alternately as he and she (and/or gender neutral pronouns), and some prefer to use only their name and not use pronouns at all.
In July 2012, Gopi Shankar, a gender activist and a student at The American College in Madurai coined the regional terms for genderqueer (Tamil: பால்புதுமையினர்) people in Tamil during Asia's first genderqueer Pride Parade. According to Shankar, Tamil is the only language besides English that has been given names for all the genders identified so far.
Designed by Marilyn Roxie and completed in 2011, the genderqueer and non-binary pride flag composes of three horizontal stripes and is designed to compliment existing gender and sexuality flags.
Lavender stands as a mixture of blue and pink, traditionally associated with men and women, and so represents androgyny as well as 'queerness', as it has long-standing connections to non-heterosexual communities. White stands for agender, reflecting the use of white on the transgender flag for 'gender neutral', and dark chartreuse green stands as the inverse of lavender, representing all whose identity is outside or without connection to the gender binary.
In 2013, Roxie clarified that the similarity shared between the colours of the pride flag and those of the Women's Social and Political Union, a United Kingdom suffrage organisation, was unintentional.
Out genderqueer people
- Chris Pureka, an American folk music singer-songwriter, came out publicly as genderqueer in a 2005 interview with Off Our Backs.
- Gopi Shankar, a gender activist and a student of The American College in Madurai. Shankar penned the first book on gender-variant people in Tamil and is the founder of Srishti Madurai genderqueer group.
- Jiz Lee, a pornographic performer, stated in a personal blog post to have become more candid about being genderqueer at about age 29.[non-primary source needed]
- Justin Vivian Bond, American entertainer, identifies as neither male or female, but trans. Bond prefers the title "Mx" and the pronoun "V".
- Rae Spoon, a Canadian singer-songwriter, identified as a trans man for many years before adopting a gender-neutral identity in 2012.
- Hida Viloria, American writer and intersex activist, speaks about being genderqueer in the 1999 film Gendernauts. As the New York Times film review stated, "Hida Viloria, a voluble hermaphrodite with exquisite cheekbones, can pass effortlessly from exquisite femininity to sullen machismo. Having lived credibly as a woman and as a man, Hida... now seems happiest occupying 'the middle ground' between them."
Discrimination and legal status
The majority of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey chose "A gender not listed here." The Q3GNLH (Question 3 Gender Not Listed Here) respondents reported being 9 percentage-points (33%) more likely to forgo healthcare due to fear of discrimination than the general sample (36% compared to 27%). 76% reported being unemployed, 90% reported experiencing anti-trans bias at work, and 43% reported having attempted suicide.
First reported in January 2003, Australians can use "X" as their gender. Alex MacFarlane is believed to be the first person in Australia to obtain a birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an 'X' sex marker in 2003. This is stated by the West Australian to be on the basis of a challenge by MacFarlane, using an indeterminate birth certificate issued by the State of Victoria. The West Australian newspaper reported in January 2003 that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade "had decided to accommodate people whose birth certificates recorded their sex as indeterminate ... Alex is also believed to be the first Australian issued with a birth certificate acknowledging a gender other than male or female. Alex's says “indeterminate - also known as intersex”. It was issued in Alex's birth State of Victoria, which unlike WA, changed its policy to allow the category".
In 2011, the Australian Passport Office introduced new guidelines for issuing of passports with a new gender, and broadened availability of an X descriptor to all individuals with documented "indeterminate" sex. The revised policy stated that "sex reassignment surgery is not a prerequisite to issue a passport in a new gender. Birth or citizenship certificates do not need to be amended."
Australian Commonwealth guidelines on the recognition of sex and gender, published in June 2013, now extend the use of an 'X' gender marker to any adult who chooses that option, in all dealings with the Commonwealth government and its agencies. The option is being introduced over a three year period. The guidelines also clarify that the federal government collects data on gender, rather than sex.
Norrie May-Welby is popularly - but erroneously - often regarded as the first person in the world to obtain officially indeterminate, unspecified or "genderless" status. May-Welby became the first transsexual person in Australia to pursue a legal status of neither a man nor a woman, in 2010. That status is subject to an appeal by the State of New South Wales.
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