Basics: Genderqueer

Gender 101 | What is GenderGenderqueer at Wikipedia | Genderqueer at Urban Dictionary

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Genderqueer is a term for people who identify as neither male or female. It’s sometimes also used collectively to group together people such as cross dressers, two-spirited, transgender men and women, and those who are androgynous. Genderqueer people are also known by many other terms, and are free to identify as whatever they wish.

Genderqueer is to gender what Bisexual is to sexuality; people who are genderqueer sit between the genders, being neither male nor female or — for some — both at the same time.

The Urban dictionary has several competing definitions of Genderqueer, and Wikipedia defines it thus:

Genderqueer (GQ) and intergender are catch-all terms for gender identities other than man and woman. People who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as being both man and woman, as being neither man nor woman, or as falling completely outside the gender binary. They may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, one or the other, or neither. Androgyne is also used commonly to describe this same category. Many genderqueers see gender and sex as being separable aspects of a person and may identify as a “male woman”, a “female man”, or a male (or female or intersex) genderqueer.[1] Since there is still relatively little agreed upon terminology, the distinction between the two categories is difficult to pull apart. Genderqueers may have any sexuality/sexual identity, any physical sex, and may or may not identify as trans (trans women and trans men).

From Wikipedia Genderqueer article.

(Note: “Intergender” is not a term in great use in Australia).

The bottom line, however, is that gender is not a binary, not exclusively male or female. Like everything in the world, there are extremes of gender behaviour, and there is the middle ground which can vary depending on your life experiences, your environment, how you were brought up and ultimately, what’s between your ears.

Why it’s okay to be inbetween

Despite what we’re force-fed by the media and by society, it really is okay to be inbetween genders if that’s where you feel you need to be. It’s almost preposterous that, depending on the flesh between our legs, we are expected to behave in certain ways; if you have a penis, you’re expected to be tough and hard, if you have a vagina, you’re expected to be soft and yielding.

The catch is that as a human being, you are so much more than your genitals. You have the potential to do a multitude of amazing things and to be restricted to gender stereotypes is to diminish you as a person.

Kate Bornstein writes about this in her book Gender Outlaw (and the new edition: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation). An interview with Kate regarding gender can be found at Enlighten Next magazine.

“When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it – don’t back down and don’t give up – then you’re going to mystify a lot of folks.”

Bob Dylan


2 Responses to “Basics: Genderqueer”

  1. The Nerd says:

    I had initially assumed that Kate prefers gender-neutral pronouns, because I’ve seen them used in her bios before, but then I did some googlin’ and found this:

    DIW: Which gender pronouns do you prefer? Are they consistent??

    Kate: It depends on how much trouble I want to make! If I’m feeling cranky, I might request “ze”, “hir” or “they.” But, most of the time, I just prefer she and her.

    Good to know. :)

  2. [...] since that would be erasure at a really delicate time. A genderqueer group writes their definition here (using the “catch-all term” [...]

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