A genderqueer person is part of a group of people who do not fit into the traditional two-gender or gender-binary system. As with any other transgender group, the reasons for identifying as genderqueer vary.
The concept of genderqueer identity is an evolving one. It has been proposed by many scholars that all queer-identified people have Trans issues – some more than others and, historically, queer communities have provided spaces where gender expression can come in many and varied forms. Ironically, queer communities (which are just as susceptible to trends and fashions as anyone else) are sometimes criticised for enforcing certain gender expressions and behaviours.
Transsexuality is particularly prone to attack in this respect, with the main commentary being that the idea of transsexuality (and in particular gender reassignment surgery) reinforces the social ‘norm’ of a binary gender system. The queer women’s controversy over the “death of femme” is a further example of this, as is the long-standing controversy among queer men regarding the phrase “straight-acting”.
Some believe they are a little of both of the traditional genders or think they have no gender at all. Others view gender as a continuum, with the two traditional genders at the two poles and their place as somewhere within the continuum, while others believe there are as many genders as there are people.
Still others believe that gender is a social construct, and choose not to adhere to that construct. Some genderqueers do fit into the stereotypical gender roles expected of their sex, but still reject gender as a social construct. Still other people identify as genderqueer since, though they are cisgender, they do not fit many of society’s expectations for the gender in which they identify. Some genderqueers believe their gender flows from day to day.
Many traditional societies, traditional religions, and political ideologies have strict gender identities, roles, and/or positions, and disapprove of such mixing or consider it unnatural.
Some people use “genderqueer” as a politicised version of the term androgyne, which describes persons who have the gender identity of both a man and a woman or neither. This understanding of the term coincides with the term “multi-gendered”, which is used more frequently as a term of distinction rather than a phrase for self-identification by individuals.
The term genderqueer can (but does not necessarily) include any transgender person. These individuals challenge the social norms of gender definition, in much the same way as homosexual and bisexual individuals challenge the social norms of sexuality.
The term pansexual exists specifically in reference to the genderqueer understanding of gender, as it reflects a non-binary understanding of gender and its interplay with sexuality. Pansexual is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity.
Pansexual people believe they are different from bisexual people because ‘bi’ means ‘two’, and therefore being bisexual indicates that you are attracted to only two genders, whereas ‘pan’ means ‘all’, as in all of humanity. Pansexuals who follow this concept of pansexuality believe it is inclusive of people who don’t identify within the gender binary, and similarly believe that bisexuality is not.
Some genderqueers identify sufficiently with one gender to use conventional pronouns, others prefer that gender-neutral pronouns should be used to refer to them, such as “ze” and “per”, “sie” and “hir”, “zhe” and “hir”, or singular “they” instead of her/his, some alternate between different pronouns, and some prefer the use only of their name and no pronouns at all. Many people of various political stripes, view such attempts as political correctness.
- Butch and femme
- gender bender
- gender blender
- Third gender
Forked from Genderqueer Wikipedia article, 4 October 2005.