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Genderqueer (GQ), also termed non-binary or gender-expansive, 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. 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.
Agender ('a-' meaning "without") people, also called genderless, genderfree, non-gendered, or ungendered people are those who identify as having no gender or being without any gender identity. This category includes a very broad range of identities which do not conform to traditional gender norms. However, Enke notes that people who identify with any of these positions may not necessarily self-identify as transgender.
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 also desire physical modification or hormones to suit their preferred expression. The World Health Organization considers gender and sex 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 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 some prefer to use only their name and not use pronouns at all.
Legal recognition of non-binary gender
In Australia, sex/gender can be listed on passports as "male", "female", or "X" (for "indeterminate/intersex/unspecified"). An alliance of organizations including the National LGBTI Health Alliance, Organisation Intersex International Australia and Transgender Victoria has called for "X" to be redefined as "non-binary".
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%). 90% reported experiencing anti-trans bias at work and 43% reported having attempted suicide.
- Usher, Raven, ed. (2006). North American Lexicon of Transgender Terms. San Francisco. ISBN 978-1-879194-62-5. OCLC 184841392.
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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 Nov 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). doi:10.1080/1550428X.2011.623982. ISSN 1550-4298. 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
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