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Non-binary gender

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Non-binary pride flag
Genderqueer pride flag

Non-binary, also known as genderqueer, is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary.[1]

Non-binary people may identify as having two or more genders (being bigender, trigender, or pangender);[2] having no gender (being agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois); moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);[3] or being third gender or other-gendered, a category that includes those who do not place a name to their gender.[4]

Gender identity is separate from sexual or romantic orientation,[5] and non-binary people have a variety of sexual orientations, just as transgender and cisgender people do.[6]

A non-binary gender is not associated with a specific gender expression, such as androgyny. Non-binary people as a group have a wide variety of gender expressions.

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, or who "queer" gender. Individuals may express gender non-normatively by not conforming into the binary gender categories of "man" and "woman".[7] Genderqueer is often used to self-identify by people who challenge binary social constructions of gender.[8]

The term has also been applied by those describing what they see as a gender ambiguity.[9] Androgynous (also androgyne) is frequently used as a descriptive term for people in this category. This is because the term androgyny is closely associated with a blend of socially defined masculine and feminine traits.[10] However, not all genderqueer people identify as androgynous. Some genderqueer people identify as a masculine woman or a feminine man or combine genderqueer with another gender option.[11]

Some references use the term transgender broadly, in such a way that it includes genderqueer/non-binary people.[12][13][14] 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".[15]

A person who is genderfluid prefers to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single gender.[16] They may fluctuate between genders or express multiple genders at the same time.[16][17]

An agender person ('a-' meaning "without"), also called genderless, genderfree, non-gendered, or ungendered,[18][19] is someone who identifies as having no gender or being without a gender identity.[20][21][22] 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.[23] Agender people have no specific set of pronouns; singular they is typically used, but it is not the default.[24] Neutrois and agender were two of 50 available custom genders on Facebook, which were added on 13 February 2014.[25] Agender is also available as a gender option on OkCupid since 17 November 2014.[26]

Demigender is a gender identity of a person identifying partially or mostly with one gender and at the same time with another gender.[27][28] There are several subcategories of the identity. A demi-boy or demi-man, for example, identifies at least partially with being a boy or a man, no matter the sex and gender they were assigned at birth, while other parts of their identity might be assigned to other genders, genderfluid or no other gender (agender). A demiflux person feels that the stable part of their identity is non-binary.[28]

History

Anthropologists such as April Scarlett Callis believe that the traditional binary system of sexual identity can be traced to the 19th century when sexuality was first medicalized.[29] People started to identify as gay when biological sciences grew in influence, churches became less powerful, and social and political structure began to change.[29] George Chauncey, professor of history at Yale University, notes that during the early 20th-century gender roles rather than sexual partners were used to determine sexuality.[29] For instance, "feminine" men who had sex with other men were labeled as "mollies" or "fairies", whereas masculine men who had sex with other men remained unlabeled.[29] The mid-20th century signaled the start of labeling individuals as either heterosexual or homosexual.[29]

The term genderqueer came into use during the mid-1990s. Riki Anne Wilchins is often associated with the word genderqueer, especially because of her contributions to Genderqueer: Voices Beyond the Sexual Binary which was published in 2002.[30] In 1995 she was also published in the newsletter In Your Face, where she used the term genderqueer.[31] In the newsletter, the term appears to refer to people with complex or unnamed gender expressions, which does not match with the general definition used today. Wilchins stated she identifies as genderqueer in her 1997 autobiography.[32]

Some genderqueer people[33][5] are medically treated for gender dysphoria with surgery or hormones, as trans men and women are.

Gender neutrality

Gender neutrality is the movement to end discrimination of gender altogether in society through means of gender-neutral language, the end of sex segregation, and other means.

Pronouns and titles

Pronoun pin badges from a 2016 art and tech festival

Some non-binary/genderqueer people prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns. Usage of singular 'they', 'their' and 'them' is the most common;[34] and 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.[35] Many prefer additional neutral language, such as the title 'Mx.' instead of Mr. or Ms.[36]

Legal recognition

In today's society, many non-binary/genderqueer people still use the gender they were given at birth to conduct everyday business because many areas of life still conduct business with binary genders. Things are changing though as more businesses are becoming more accepting of non-binary genders.[37] Multiple countries legally recognize non-binary or third gender classifications. Some non-western societies have long recognized transgender people as a third gender, though this may not (or may only recently)[38] include formal legal recognition. In western societies, Australia may have been the first country to legally recognize third classifications, following recognition of Alex MacFarlane as having indeterminate sex, reported in 2003.[39]

Discrimination

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 nine 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). Ninety percent reported experiencing anti-trans bias at work, and 43 percent reported having attempted suicide.[40]

Symbols and observances

Anjali Gopalan and Gopi Shankar Madurai inaugurating Asia's first Genderqueer Pride Parade at Madurai with a rainbow and genderqueer flag[41][42]

Many flags have been used in non-binary and genderqueer communities to represent various identities. There are distinct non-binary and genderqueer pride flags. The genderqueer pride flag was designed in 2011. Lavender represents androgyny or queerness, white represents agender identity, and green represents those whose identities which are defined outside the binary.[43][44][45] The non-binary pride flag was created in 2014.[46] Yellow represents people whose gender exists outside the binary, purple represents those who feel their gender is a mixture of – or between – male and female, black represents people who feel as if they have no gender,[43] and white represents those who embrace many or all genders.

Genderfluid people, who also fall under the genderqueer umbrella, have their own flag as well. Pink represents femininity, white represents lack of gender, purple represents mixed gender or androgyny, black represents all other genders, and blue represents masculinity.[44][47]

Agender people, who also sometimes identify as genderqueer, have their own flag. This flag uses black and white stripes to represent an absence of gender, and a green stripe to represent non-binary genders.[48]

International Non-binary Day is celebrated on 14 July.[49][50][51][52]

Demographics

According to The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 35% of the nearly 28,000 transgender respondents to the anonymous online survey identified as non-binary.[55][56]

A 2011 survey conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK found that 0.4% of the 10,039 respondents identified as non-binary.[57]

See also

References

  1. ^ Usher, Raven, ed. (2006). North American Lexicon of Transgender Terms. San Francisco. ISBN 978-1-879194-62-5. OCLC 184841392.
  2. ^ Webb, Madison-Amy (21 May 2019). A Reflective Guide to Gender Identity Counselling. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-1785923838.
  3. ^ Winter, Claire Ruth (2010). Understanding Transgender Diversity: A Sensible Explanation of Sexual and Gender Identities. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1-4563-1490-3. OCLC 703235508.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b "Transgender Glossary of Terms". GLAAD Media Reference Guide. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  6. ^ Stryker, Susan (2008). Transgender History. Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1-58005-224-5. OCLC 183914566.
  7. ^ Dahir, Mubarak (25 May 1999). "Whose Movement Is It?". The Advocate. Here Media. p. 52.
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  11. ^ Walsh, Reuben (December 2010). "More T, vicar? My experiences as a genderqueer person of faith". All God's Children. Vol. 2 no. 3. Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
  12. ^ Johanna Schorn. "Taking the "Sex" out of Transsexual: Representations of Trans Identities in Popular Media" (PDF). Inter-Disciplinary.Net. Universität zu Köln. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2014. 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.
  13. ^ Marc E. Vargo (30 November 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): 2 (493). doi:10.1080/1550428X.2011.623982. ISSN 1550-4298. 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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Further reading