The specific acronym "MOGAI" has been attributed to a Tumblr user who is currently under the username cisphobeofficial, otherwise known as cloud, who was fourteen years old when they proposed that variation.
A group discussion began with a Tumblr post by Kay under the username okaysional (now taodefensesquad) on December 13, 2013. He said "LGBATQUI+ is trying to be all encompassing whilst getting longer every time people realise it’s missing some", but the problematic "GSM" (gender/sexuality minority) needed an alternative. Initially, he proposed MGS for Marginalized Gender/Sexuality.
Discussions quickly progressed with support for creating an alternative while critiquing MGS itself. The user robotic-fish said it was not exclusive enough since "kinksters and poly cishets will try and claim that they can use it too", sxizzor raised concerns about being "a little more inclusive of ace and queer romantic orientations", and dont-spoop-yourself noted that "marginalized gender could probably just include cishet women". Under the username sxizzor, Zach suggested using the phrase "gender alignment", saying it referred to whether or not the gender(s) someone identified as equaled their gender assignment at birth. He proposed MOGA for Marginalized Orientation and Gender Alignment; this shift also changed sexuality to orientation to be more inclusive of romantic orientations. By January 1, 2014, the further discussions had led Kay to support MOGA over MGS, in part to avoid confusion of the acronym MGS with Metal Gear Solid.
Further debate about being explicit about romantic versus sexual orientation led to several suggestions from the user mr-moon-the-cisphobic-panda, including MORSGA, which was then revised by cloud (under the username sunsetfucker) to MORSGAI on February 21. Sometime by March 16, 2014, it had been changed again to MOGAI and relayed by cloud to other Tumblr users.
Identities under the umbrella
MOGAI is ever-expanding to encompass additional identities. Those listed below are in chronological order according to when they were first proposed.
Xenogender is defined as "a gender that cannot be contained by human understandings of gender; more concerned with crafting other methods of gender categorization and hierarchy such as those relating to animals, plants, or other creatures/things". Xenogender individuals may use ideas and identities outside of the gender binary to describe themselves and avoid binary gendered identifiers, such as using only their first name or the name of an animal. They may feel they cannot place a label on themselves, or feel as though they lack the terms to fully express their gender or identity, something that derives from a lexical gap.[note 1] The term "xenogender" itself was designed to help fill the lexical gap by using terms not typically associated with gender or describing gender with metaphors. Since it is a gender identity that is outside the binary concepts of masculinity and femininity, xenogender is a non-binary identity.
The term xenogender was proposed on June 24, 2014, by Baaphomett, a user on Tumblr. The prefix xen- or xeno- means stranger, guest, or host. The word "xenine" has been used to mean "of or pertaining to xenogenders", with "xenity" as a noun form.
Neurogender identity was originally proposed as "a gender feeling that is strongly linked to one's status as neurodivergent". It was further elaborated upon as the following: "Neurogender is a gender feeling that is linked to someone's neurodivergence. It can be both an identity and an umbrella term for genders that are limited to neurodivergent people. Obviously, you have to be neurodivergent to identify as this gender. And no, it is not 'turning neurological disorders into a gender'. Neurogender just means that a person's perception of their gender is influenced by them being neurodivergent." As the meaning of the term "neurodivergent" has been debated, it is unclear which definition was intended.[note 2]
By 2016, "neurogender" had been redefined by others as "an umbrella term to describe when someone's gender is somehow linked to their neurotype, mental illness, or neurological conditions. There are many different neurogenders related to most, if not all, neurodivergencies." This specific redefinition has been cited in at least one print source. In another redefinition from 2018, neurogenders were described as "genders specific to neurodivergent people whose experience of gender relates to their neurotype or who feel they can't fully understand gender due to their neurotype."
Egogender, also known as charagender, is a gender identity that was originally defined as "a gender that is solely based on yourself, and no words seem to define it other than me gender, [name] gender, i'm just who i am and my gender is mine". The label indicates a gender that is personal to one person's own experience and is described solely as that person. The name "egogender" is derived from the Latin or Greek prefix ego, meaning "self" or "I". It was proposed sometime by August 25, 2014 by the Tumblr user queerspike on the MOGAI-Archive blog.
The annual Gender Census is an online, international survey of people who do not strictly identify with the gender binary. In both the 2020 and 2021 Gender Census, four respondents in each year used the term "egogender" as one of their identity terms.
An egogender flag with unequal purple, cyan, and blue stripes was created by the Tumblr user same-memes on November 4, 2014, along with flags for "egoguy", "ego girl", and "egononbinary". An egogender flag with nine stripes was posted on August 28, 2019 by the Tumblr user momma-mogai-sphinx per the request of an anonymous user. The colors used were: shades of purple to represent individuality, shades of blue to represent peace and understanding, and a yellow center stripe representing clarity. The post was tagged "xenogender" by momma-mogai-sphinx.
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As described by the Tumblr user bi-privilege, MOGAI is "meant to be an all inclusive umbrella term for asexuals, homosexuals, multisexuals, trans people, and intersex people", while also being "a bit easier to type than LGBTQIAP+". According to frostfangs, it addresses complaints about adding additional letters to LGTBQIAP+ and groups being forgotten when someone does not type the entire acronym, and could serve as an adjective replacing "queer" because "we should not forget that it is also a slur and not everyone is comfortable with being labeled or even labeling themselves as such". Many people are uncomfortable with the term MOGAI as well.
The MOGAI community has been criticized by some LGBTQIA+ activists, such as Morgan Lev Edward Holleb, for conflating marginalized identities unrelated to gender identity and sexual orientation with those that are. For instance, mental illness is stigmatized and can intersect with identities based on gender or sexuality, but experiencing a mental illness does not mean someone has a queer identity. MOGAI labels have raised concerns about taking the complexity of human sexuality and categorizing it into increasingly specific types of attraction or repulsion. While it can be beneficial to have language that describes various aspects of sexuality, it may lead people to shape their identities around that language.
Perceptions and discrimination
Christine Feraday researched Tumblr's queer identity language for her master's thesis, completed in 2016, for her Master of Arts in Communication and Culture. She planned to use the term MOGAI, as it appeared to be a popular umbrella term at that time, but found in her call for participants that many people were uncomfortable with it. When Feraday switched her call to the more neutral "non-cisgender and/or non-straight" to make people feel more comfortable participating, she received many more respondents. She also noted their concerns that MOGAI would "be co-opted by cishet people who feel they fall under 'marginalized orientations' because of their interest in kink or polyamory".
Many supposed MOGAI labels are not created by people who identify as such, instead originating with "sock puppets"[note 3] who are attempting to discredit and delegitimize the queer community by portraying it as perverse and dangerous. For instance, sock puppets have created false labels for non-consensual paraphilias that are not genuinely accepted by the MOGAI community.
- A lexical gap is a word that does not exist in a particular language, although it could exist according to that language's rules.
- Neurodivergent is a term associated with the neurodiversity movement. Neurodiverse, coined by Judy Singer, is not equivalent to "neurological disorder" or "autistic"; an individual person is not neurodiverse. Neurodiversity is comparable to biodiversity and refers to the neuro-cognitive variability found in all humans, such as mood, learning, attention, social behavior, and other mental traits. The neurodiversity movement is primarily associated with people who are on the autism spectrum, as well as "cousin" conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, learning disorders such as dyslexia, and motor disorders such as dyspraxia and Tourette's Syndrome. The term neurodivergent, coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, refers to neurologically divergent from typical or a brain that diverges. Asasumasu has said it is not limited to neurodevelopmental disorders and includes people with mental illnesses or no specific diagnosis. Others have redefined neurodivergent as specific to neurodevelopmental or neurological conditions, and not mood, dissociative, or personality disorders. Further explanations of neurodiversity versus neurodivergence are available on the Neuroqueer blog.
- Sock puppets are fake online accounts "puppeted" by another. In this sense, the puppet accounts are created to appear sincere and deceptively claim membership in a community. Sock puppets sow division within communities, and misrepresent it to non-members to discredit it, such as by taking its narratives to extremes that the community does not actually support. Anti-transgender hate groups have used this technique.