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Genderfluid, or simply fluid, refers to someone whose gender identity changes over time. A genderfluid individual can identify as any gender, or combination of genders, at any given time. Their gender can change at random, or it may vary in response to different circumstances. At times, these individuals may identify as male, female, both, or neither.[1] Their pronouns may vary at different times. The term genderfluid can be used as a specific identity in itself or as a descriptive term. They are generally considered under the non-binary and transgender umbrellas, but not all genderfluid individuals identify with those terms. Some genderfluid people transition socially, physically, and/or legally.[2]

Etymology[]

The word "genderfluid" has been in use since at least the 1990s, although with a different meaning. The earliest known definition appears in Kate Bornstein's book Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us, which defines genderfluidity as the "ability to freely and knowingly become one of many of a limitless number of genders, for any length of time, at any rate of change. Gender fluidity recognizes no borders or rules of gender."[3] This sentiment is echoed, though not repeated, by transgender advocate Michael M. Hernandez, who wrote 1996:[4]

Gender-fluid means that their gender identity and/or expression encompass both masculine and feminine. Gender fluidity is becoming commonly known as transgenderism: the ability to transcend gender, whether biological, emotional, political, or otherwise; truly mixing male and female.

Michael M. Hernandez, "Boundaries: Gender and Transgenderism"

These definitions are less applicable to genderfluidity as it has become known in the 21st century. A definition of the term appears in Kirstin Cronn-Mills' book Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices, which simply states that individuals prefer to be flexible regarding their gender.[5] Other modern definitions are included in the Urban Dictionary, with the earliest example being added in 2007.[6]

Community[]

Identities under the umbrella[]

There are some genderfluid microlabels that specify what genders a person can feel. The following are just a few examples of such specificity.

Genderfae[]

Genderfae flag

The genderfae flag

Genderfae is a genderfluid identity experienced by a person who is fluid among multiple gender identities, but never man-aligned nor masculine genders.[7][8][9][10] Hence, genderfae can include woman-aligned, feminine genders, and non-binary genders such as aporagender.[8][9][10] The "fae" suffix of genderfae is a shortened form of the word "faerie", which in turn is an alternative spelling of "fairy".[11] In the 2021 Gender Census, 145 participants identified as genderfae. This was roughly 0.33% of the total participants of that survey.[12]

The genderfae flag was made using a range of colors without using blue, in order to aesthetically represent how genderfae does not include man and masculine genders.[13]

Genderfaun[]

Genderfaun flag

The genderfaun flag

Genderfaun is a genderfluid identity experienced by a person who is fluid among multiple gender identities, but never woman-aligned nor feminine genders.[7][10][14] As a result, genderfaun is often seen as a complimentary identity to genderfae.[15] In the 2021 Gender Census, 110 participants identified as genderfaun. This was roughly 0.25% of the total participants of that survey.[12]

The genderfaun flag was made using a range of colors without using pinks or red, in order to aesthetically represent how genderfaun does not include woman-aligned and feminine genders.[15]

Genderflor[]

Genderflor flag

The genderflor flag

Genderflor is a genderfluid identity experienced by a person who is fluid among multiple gender identities, but never man-aligned, woman-aligned, masculine genders, nor feminine genders.[7][10][16] It is sometimes referred to as a counterpart to genderfae and genderfaun.[17] In the 2021 Gender Census, 30 participants identified as genderflor or otherwise some variation of it, such as "genderfloren" and "genderfloret". This was roughly 0.07% of the total participants of that survey.[12]

The genderflor flag was based on the designs of the genderfae and genderfaun flags, using a range of colors to represent the fluidity between genders that are neither feminine nor masculine.[17][18]

Fluidflux[]

FluidFlux

The fluidflux flag

Fluidflux, also known as genderfluidflux,[19] is an identity that is a combination of genderfluid and genderflux. It is essentially both fluid in what gender it is, as well as fluctuating in intensity.[20][21] The term itself was coined sometime in 2014 by two Tumblr users, genderabbit and trigenby.[22]

A flag design for this identity was available online as early as August 17, 2015.[21] The creator of the flag is unknown, but the assumed flag meaning is as follows: The multitude of colors represent how a fluidflux person can be fluid between multiple genders, with the paler colors at the bottom of the flag representing fluctuations in those genders, and the black line representing agender.[23]

History[]

In the 18th century, French diplomat Chevalier d'Éon worked as a spy in London before political exile. They presented as both a man and a woman at various points in life, having been assigned male at birth and choosing to live as a woman in the latter years of their life.[24] Some regard d'Éon as a figure of the genderfluid community, while others believe they merely changed genders to gain a political or societal strategy.[25]

Flag[]

Genderfluid Flag

The genderfluid pride flag

The first genderfluid flag was seen in 2005 at the gay pride in Columbus, Ohio.[26] Pink represents femininity, blue represents masculinity, purple represents both femininity and masculinity, black represents a lack of gender, and white represents all genders.[27] This flag is widely considered to be the "chosen" flag of the community, with replicas selling on popular online services such as Amazon.

Alt Genderfluid Flag

An alternative genderfluid pride flag.

In one iteration of the genderfluid flag, created by Wikipedia user MarijnFlorence, the colored lines were waves as a visual pun in reference to the fluidity of the gender identity.[28]

Distinction[]

Non-binary[]

Genderfluid is often compared to or confused with non-binary people. Non-binary people do not classify themselves as either binary gender, male or female, while a genderfluid individual's gender is not fixed, allowing them to identify as male, female, or both at any given moment.[29]

Genderqueer[]

Genderqueer is also used in conjunction with genderfluid due to their similarities. Genderqueer people do not fit into any gender binary, while genderfluid people may simply "switch" between the binaries or along the gender spectrum.[30]

Agender[]

Agender can also be confused for genderfluid; however, they are vastly different gender identities. Agender individuals do not identify as any gender, while genderfluid people almost always identify with one binary or another.[31]

Perceptions and discrimination[]

A common misconception regarding genderfluidity is that it is "just a phase". According to WebMD, "The very nature of being gender fluid means you may change the way you identify. If this happens, it doesn't mean the person is no longer gender fluid." Furthermore, when speaking on children exhibiting genderfluidity, "cross-gender preferences and play are part of their normal exploration process and do not necessarily affect their future gender identity. However, if a child continues to identify as gender diverse over the years, then it's more likely not a phase." Contrary to popular beliefs, gender fluidity is not linked to any sort of mental illness or developmental disorder. Rather, it is an identity.[1]

Media[]

A study done by GLAAD in 2017-2018 found there were a total of 17 transgender characters on screen, of which only 4 of them identified as non-binary, though none as specifically genderfluid. Similarly, in 2019, GLAAD did another study and found there were no genderfluid characters in major films. GLAAD had looked over 118 films from major studios, and of the 18.6% of characters that were part of the LGBTQ community, none were non-binary or genderfluid.[32]

Literature[]

  • Riley Cavanaugh - Symptoms of Being Human[33]
  • Alex Fierro - Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Public figures[]

  • Miley Cyrus[34]
  • Claude Cahun, French-Jewish artist who used art to examine gender presentation and roles in society.[35] She had stated in her autobiography that her gender was fluid and depended “on the situation.”[36]

Resources[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Gender Fluid: What Does It Mean?" on <webmd.com>(Archived on 2024-04-30)
  2. "Genderfluid / Genderflux" by The Trans Language Primer on The Trans Language Primer(Archived on 2021-10-24)
  3. Gender Outlaw: On men, women and the rest of us by Bornstein, Kate. Published 1994 by Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781136603730(web archive)
  4. "Boundaries: Gender and Transgenderism" by Hernandez, Michael M. in The Second Coming: A Leatherdyke Reader. Published 1996.
  5. "Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices" by Cronn-Mills, Kirstin on <books.google.com.au>. Published 2014-09-01. (no backup information provided)
  6. "Urban Dictionary: gender fluid" on <web.archive.org>. Published 2007-01-21 by Urban Dictionary. (no backup information provided)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Perfectly Queer: An Illustrated Introduction by Barron, Victoria. Published 2023 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781839974083.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Finding community and overcoming barriers: experiences of queer and transgender postsecondary students in mathematics and other STEM fields" by Kersey, E. and Voigt, M on <doi.org>. Published 2020-08-19. (no backup information provided)
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Genderfae (what Does It Mean?)" on <optimistminds.com>(Archived on 2022-06-22)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Genderfae: What Does It Mean To Be Genderfae" on <spectrum-id.com>. Published by Spectrum-ID. (Archived on 2022-12-17)
  11. "Faerie Definition & Meaning" on <dictionary.com>(no backup information provided)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Gender Census 2021: Worldwide Report" on <gendercensus.com>. Published by Gender Census. (no backup information provided)
  13. "Genderfae" on <deviantart.com>. Published 2017-01-09. (Archived on 2021-01-03)
  14. "Genderfaun (tips for parents & caregivers)" on <optimistminds.com>(Archived on 2023-06-10)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Genderfaun" on <deviantart.com>. Published 2017-05-31. (Archived on 2022-01-21)
  16. "Genderflor (a form of GenderFluidity)" on <optimistminds.com>(Archived on 2023-09-23)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Genderflor" on <deviantart.com>. Published 2018-06-05. (Archived on 2020-08-22)
  18. "Beyond MOGAI Pride Flags" on <beyond-mogai-pride-flags.tumblr.com>(Archived on 2022-03-20)
  19. "On being a queer, neurodiverse, animal activist and scholar in Baltimore. Interview with Z. Zane McNeill" by Bruges, Trudi on <criphumanimal.org>. Published 2021-03-02. (Archived on 2021-04-14)
  20. Navigating Trans*+ and Complex Gender Identities by Green, Jamison; Hoskin, Rhea Ashley; Mayo, Cris; and Miller, sj. Published 2020 by Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350061064.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Fluidflux / Fluxfluid / Genderfliux (1)" on <deviantart.com>. Published 2015-08-17. (Archived on 2020-12-01)
  22. "fluidflux" by mogai-archive on <purrloinsucks.tumblr.com>. Published 2014. (Archived on 2022-01-21)
  23. "Fluidflux, Fluxfluid, Fliux, Fluix, or Genderfliux" by ask-pride-color-schemes on <ask-pride-color-schemes.tumblr.com>. Published 2017-02-11. (Archived on 2022-04-03)
  24. "LGBT+ history month: forgotten figures who challenged gender expression and identity centuries ago" by Armstrong, Catherine on <theconversation.com>. Published 2021-02-04. (no backup information provided)
  25. "The gender fluidity of the Chevalier d'Éon" by Figes, Lydia on <artuk.org>. Published 2021-02-23 by Art UK. (no backup information provided)
  26. ""Photos of genderfluid pride flag, taken at the 2005 Gay Pride in Columbus, Ohio"" by Tomislav Todorovic on <fotw.info>(no backup information provided)
  27. "We are Genderfluid!" by thoughtstoberemembered on <genderfluidity.tumblr.com>. Published 2012-08-03. (no backup information provided)
  28. "Alternative genderfluid flag" by Marijn Florence Robert van Hoorn on <en.wikipedia.org>. Published 2019-03-02. (no backup information provided)
  29. "9 FAQs About Being Gender-Fluid: Other Terms, Pronouns, and More" by Ferguson, Sian on <healthline.com>. Published 2020-06-11 by Healthline. (no backup information provided)
  30. "What is Genderfluid vs. Genderqueer? Let's Break It Down... 🌈" on <queerintheworld.com>. Published 2021 by Queer in the World. (no backup information provided)
  31. "What Does It Mean to Be Agender? 18 Questions Answered" by Ferguson, Sian on <healthline.com>. Published 2021-01-20 by Healthline. (no backup information provided)
  32. "Non-Binary Gender Identities Representation in Media" by Yang, Jie on <inkspire.org>. Published 2021-08-18 by Inkspire. (no backup information provided)
  33. This character is explicitly stated to be genderfluid, both in the narrative, and on the author's personal website.
  34. "Miley Cyrus Says She's Gender Fluid: 'It Has Nothing To Do With Any Parts of Me'" on Billboard(no backup information provided)
  35. The Queeriodic Table: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Culture by Dyer, Harriet. Published 2019 by Summersdale Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9781786857521.
  36. Disavowals or Cancelled Confessions by Cahun, Claude. Published 2008 by The MIT Press. ISBN 9780262533034.
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