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What is the Difference Between Genderqueer and Genderfluid?

Genderqueer and Genderfluid
For many people, the gender binaries of “male” and female” can feel restrictive. If you are feeling this way, then you might identify as genderqueer or genderfluid. If the traditional gender categories of “male” and “female” feel too restrictive to you

For many people, the gender binaries of “male” and female” can feel restrictive. If you are feeling this way, then you might identify as genderqueer or genderfluid. If the traditional gender categories of “male” and “female” feel too restrictive to you, there’s a chance you could be genderqueer or genderfluid.

The Gender Spectrum of Genderqueer and Genderfluid 

Gender differs from a binary in that it is a spectrum, and the words we use are continually shifting to include various identities. Now, there are more ways to express gender than ever. Two terms that come up often are genderqueer and genderfluid, but these terms do not have the same meaning. Here are the differences:

What Is Genderqueer?

Genderqueer is an umbrella term that describes a person whose gender identity doesn’t fit within societal norms. This can occur in relation to a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, or presentation.

According to an article published in them, the term “genderqueer” was first introduced in activist circles in the 1990s. However, in the last three decades, it has become more commonly known.  

Every genderqueer person has a unique way of experiencing their gender. So, in essence, the label can make different things depending on the person.

For instance, some genderqueer people identify as non-binary, whereas sometimes these two categories can overlap. In addition, some genderqueer people may feel that they don’t identify with any gender whatsoever, a concept known as agender.

Pronouns vary between genderqueer people. Some will use gender-neutral pronouns like the singular “they/them,” while others use “she/her/hers,” “he/him/his,” or a combination of these. 

What Categories Fall Under Genderqueer?

Many identities fall outside of the binary gender categories. These identities under the genderqueer umbrella include:

  • agender
  • bigender
  • pangender
  • genderfluid
  • androgynous
  • neutrois
  • demigender

It is important to note that those who are genderqueer may only identify as genderqueer, or those who identify as genderqueer may also identify this way and as another identity. For instance, a person could identify as a solely genderqueer trans woman, or someone else could identify as a bigender and androgynous genderqueer person.

Furthermore, transgender people can also identify as genderqueer, and genderqueer people can identify as transgender. Some genderqueer people will also choose to undergo various transitions, whether social, legal, or medical. These transitioning processes include taking hormones, picking a different name to go by, or having gender-affirming surgeries and procedures so that they can identify in ways that are more closely linked to their gender identity. However, not all genderqueer or transgender people will transition; it is ultimately a personal choice.  

What Is Genderfluid?

For those who identify as genderfluid, these folks have a gender that is not fixed. In other words, their gender identity can shift over time. 

Some people who are genderfluid might identify with a gender one day and another one the next. In essence, it is based on how they feel at that moment. 

Genderfluidity can be related to personal expression and presentation. For some genderfluid people, it can be a means to explore gender before deciding on a more fixed gender expression or identity. However, some genderfluid may find that their gender is in flux throughout their lifetime.

In addition, some genderfluid people identify as transgender. However, not all people who experience changes in their gender expression or identity identify as genderfluid. It is also important to note that not all genderfluid people will want to undergo gender-affirming medical procedures to alter their bodies to line up with their gender identity. 

Are Genderqueer and Non-binary the Same Thing?

Non-binary and Genderqueer may be viewed as the same thing by some; however, some people may see them as different identities. Both of these identities use different flags, and some identify as both genderqueer and non-binary. By contrast, others identify themselves as only one of the two identities. To simplify things, we will be discussing the term genderqueer and how it is sometimes used interchangeably by non-binary folks.

Non-binary identity is when a person’s gender identity falls outside the gender binary. The term genderqueer is similar to this concept because a person’s gender also falls outside the binary. In addition, it can’t always be described by the terms that are commonly used when discussing gender. 

Genderqueer, however, can encompass various things. To elaborate, gender can be more than gender expression alone, and also be a feeling within you.

Similar to genderqueer people, non-binary people can often feel they don’t always relate to binary genders like “male” and “female.” Also, they do not often feel what a cisgender person feels regarding their gender. As a result, many non-binary identities can feel like they are moving between two extremes but cannot relate to either one. 

In Summary 

These days, more and more people are identifying as genderqueer or genderfluid and other gender identities that fall outside the gender binary. All in all, the general population needs to educate themselves and learn more about genderqueer people and how to treat genderqueer individuals with dignity, respect, and care.

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Billie Olsen

AUTHOR: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.

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