Genderqueer is a gender identity that is other than male or female, a combination of the two binary genders, is on a continuum between those two genders, or queers gender in some way. Both genderqueer and non-binary can be seen as umbrella terms or as more specific identifiers. Some but not all genderqueer individuals identify as transgender.
The term "queer" was introduced to challenge the notions of sexuality, including people who may be attracted to more than one gender. This term is designed to be inclusive to those who do not categorize themselves as just male or female. Putting "gender" in front of "queer" shows the idea that those who are genderqueer may have a queer gender identity. It is important to recognize that genderqueer and non-binary do not necessarily mean the same thing, and thus people should be aware of the identifier a person prefers to use.
The term "genderqueer" rose in popularity in United States through the late 1990s and early 2000s, though it developed greatly in the mid-1990s. It implemented earlier ideas of non-binary identities and androgynous expression. Those who participated in differing gender expression were labeled "gender outlaws" by many. In the mid-1990s, the articulated non-binary community emerged with the name "genderqueer". Author Riki Anne Wilchins, who also founded GenderPAC, used the term frequently. A support group titled "Genderqueer Boyzzz" emerged in 1997.
Genderqueer was used by anyone who experienced or expressed gender with the non-normative connotations of the Queer Movement. The earliest known use of "genderqueer" as a single word and identity is by Riki Anne Wilchins in the Spring 1995 newsletter of Transexual Menace. Wilchins stated they identify as genderqueer in their 1997 autobiography.
One group in particular coined the name "Gender Sphere" in 1997. According to their initial online posting, the name is inspired by "the idea that gender is not a dichotomy (where there is either male or female) or a continuum (where there is a rainbow of stuff in between, all in a line and all related to male or female) but a sphere, where male and female are just two of an infinite number of possible points and you can be anywhere on, inside, or outside, the gendered world."
The genderqueer flag was designed by Marilyn Roxie and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. An initial flag design was posted in June 2010, followed by one in September 2010 that had lavender, green, and white horizontal stripes. In June 2011, the order of those stripes was changed to lavender, white, and green. The colors were chosen for the following reasons:
- Lavender: Queer cultural associations
- White: Similar symbolism to the transgender flag
- Green: Complementary inverse of the lavender color
Genderqueer and nonbinary can overlap with one another. For people who do not identify with the binary categories of man and woman, non-binary tends to be used as more of a catchall. Genderqueer often describes a particular experience under that umbrella, which may include feeling that one's gender is fluid.
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