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Gender fluidity

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The genderfluid pride flag, 5 stripes of pink, white, purple, black and blue
The genderfluid pride flag
ClassificationGender identity
Parent categoryNon-binary

Gender fluidity (commonly referred to as genderfluid) is a non-fixed gender identity that shifts over time or depending on the situation. These fluctuations can occur at the level of gender identity or gender expression. A genderfluid person may fluctuate among different gender expressions over their lifetime, or express multiple aspects of various gender markers simultaneously.[1][2] Genderfluid individuals may identify as non-binary or transgender, or cisgender, which means they identify with the gender associated with their sex assigned at birth.[3][4]

Gender fluidity is different from gender-questioning, a process in which people explore their gender in order to find their true gender identity and adjust their gender expression accordingly.[5] Gender fluidity continues throughout lives of genderfluid people.[6]


Transgender people (including non-binary and third gender people) have existed in cultures worldwide since ancient times. The modern terms and meanings of "transgender", "gender", "gender identity", and "gender role" only emerged in the 1950s and 1960s.[7][8][9] As a result, opinions vary on how to categorize historical accounts of gender-variant people and identities, including genderfluid individuals.

The 1928 Virginia Woolf novel Orlando: A Biography features a main character who changes gender several times, and considers gender fluidity:

In every human being, a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above.[10]

The first known mention of the term gender fluidity was in gender theorist Kate Bornstein's 1994 book Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us.[11] It was later used again in the 1996 book The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader.[12]

In February 2014, Facebook included "Gender Fluid" as one of the 50 identity options available.[13]

In May 2015, Dictionary.com added an entry for genderfluid.[14]


The genderfluid pride flag was designed by JJ Poole in 2012. The pink stripe of the flag represents femininity, the white represents lack of gender, purple represents androgyny, black represents all other genders, and blue represents masculinity.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cronn-Mills, Kirstin (2015). Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Twenty-First Century Books. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7613-9022-0.
  2. ^ McGuire, Peter (9 November 2015). "Beyond the binary: what does it mean to be genderfluid?". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  3. ^ Bosson, Jennifer K.; Vandello, Joseph A.; Buckner, Camille E. (2018). The Psychology of Sex and Gender. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-5063-3134-8. OCLC 1038755742. Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. ^ Whyte, Stephen; Brooks, Robert C.; Torgler, Benno (25 September 2018). "Man, Woman, "Other": Factors Associated with Nonbinary Gender Identification". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 47 (8). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Science+Business Media: 2397–2406. doi:10.1007/s10508-018-1307-3. PMID 30255409. S2CID 52823167. 2 out of 7479 (0.03 percent) of respondents to the Australian Sex Survey, a 2016 online research survey, self-identified as trigender.
  5. ^ Katz-Wise, Sabra (December 3, 2020). "Gender fluidity: What it means and why support matters". Harvard Health Publishing. Archived from the original on April 12, 2023. Retrieved April 12, 2023.
  6. ^ Jolly, Divya; Boskey, Elizabeth R.; Thomson, Katharine A.; Tabaac, Ariella R.; Burns, Maureen T.S.; Katz-Wise, Sabra L. (2021-03-12). "Why Are You Asking? Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Assessment in Clinical Care". Journal of Adolescent Health. 69 (6): 891–893. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.08.015. ISSN 1054-139X. PMID 34629230. S2CID 238580640.
  7. ^ Oliven, John F. (1965). Sexual Hygiene and Pathology: A Manual for the Physician and the Professions. Lippincott.
  8. ^ Janssen, Diederik F. (April 21, 2020). "Transgenderism Before Gender: Nosology from the Sixteenth Through Mid-Twentieth Century". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 49 (5): 1415–1425. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01715-w. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 32319033. S2CID 216073926.
  9. ^ Mesch, Rachel (May 12, 2020). Before trans : three gender stories from nineteenth-century France. Stanford, California. ISBN 978-1-5036-1235-8. OCLC 1119978342.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ "Thousands of U.S. copyrighted works from 1928 are entering the public domain". Archived from the original on 2024-01-13. Retrieved 2024-01-14.
  11. ^ Bornstein, Kate (2016). Gender Outlaw On Men, Women and the Rest of Us. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-101-97461-2. OCLC 1155971422. Archived from the original on 2022-01-10. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  12. ^ Hernandez, Michael M. (1996). "Boundaries: Gender and Transgenderism". The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader. Alyson. OCLC 757653724.
  13. ^ Sparkes, Matthew (2014-02-14). "Facebook sex changes: which one of 50 genders are you?". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2023-02-28.
  14. ^ "gender-fluid Meaning | Gender & Sexuality". Dictionary.com. 12 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2023-02-13. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
  15. ^ "Flags and Symbols" (PDF). Amherst, Massachusetts: Amherst College. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Gender-fluid added to the Oxford English Dictionary". LGBTQ Nation. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-20.

Further reading[edit]