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Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) 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.
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 or a female man, or combine genderqueer with another gender option. It can be helpful for some people to consider gender and sex as two separate things. Genders can include, but are in no way limited to, man/woman, bigender, agender, non-binary, etc. 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 have a variety of sexual orientations, just like transgender and cisgender people do. Many genderqueer people identify as trans in more current discussions, as trans simply means that an individual does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.
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 references use the term transgender broadly, in such a way that it includes genderqueer.
- 1 Gender terms
- 2 Gender neutrality
- 3 Notable people with non-binary gender identities
- 4 Discrimination
- 5 Legal status
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
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.
In July 2012, Gopi Shankar, a gender activist and a student at The American College in Madurai coined regional terms for genderqueer (Tamil: பால்புதுமையினர்) people in Tamil during Asia's first genderqueer Pride Parade. Shankar says Tamil is the only language besides English that has given names for all the genders identified so far.
Agender (from 'a-', meaning "without", and 'gender') 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.
Notable people with non-binary gender identities
- Angel Haze, American rapper, identifies as agender. Their preferred personal pronoun is singular they and they came out as genderqueer in February 2015
- Andrea Gibson, American poet and activist. Also goes by Andrew. Their preferred personal pronoun is singular they and they have written many poems about gender identity, such as "Swing set" and "Andrew".
- Jiz Lee, a pornographic performer, stated in a personal blog post to have become more candid about being genderqueer at about age 29.
- Richard O'Brien, a British actor and filmmaker who lives in New Zealand, identifies as third gender and takes estrogen.
- Chris Pureka, an American folk music singer-songwriter, came out publicly as genderqueer in a 2005 interview with Off Our Backs.
- Ruby Rose, Australian model and DJ, came out as gender-fluid in 2014. She identifies as both male and female and prefers she/her pronouns.
- Gopi Shankar, a gender activist and a student of The American College in Madurai. Shankar wrote the first book on gender-variant people in Tamil and ze is the founder of Srishti Madurai genderqueer group.
- 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 film Gendernauts (1999). 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." Viloria uses "s/he" and "he/r" pronouns to acknowledge he/r identity as an intersex, gender fluid feminist.
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.
X sex/gender markers in Australia
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 chosen birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an 'X' sex marker in 2003. This was 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 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."
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.
The Norrie case and non-specific 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. In April 2014, Norrie May-Welby was found by the Australian High Court to have "non-specific sex" following surgery that "did not resolve her[sic] sexual ambiguity".
In Japan, X-gender or X-sex is a third gender or genderqueer identity known as Xジェンダー.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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