ELI5:What is “Genderqueer”

  1. In brief genderqueer is someone who does not ascribe to a binary gender.
    Sex being the anatomical sex you are born with gender is the way society expects you to be as a member of that sex. The way men and women are expected to behave based on the fact of them being men or women. Such as men don’t shave their legs but women do (simplified example).
    These two genders are are called the gender binary.
    Genderqueer people feel they do not fit into this binary and do not want to be one or the other gender.
    So you could be perfectly happy being in the male sex but not the male gender or any other variation. Hope that explains it.
    Source: I’m genderqueer.

    Edit: This kind of exploded when I went away from the computer, sorry for derailing it with an overly simplistic answer, thanks to everyone who gave fantastic answers in my absence 🙂

  2. As I imagine it, gender queer is a great term for those that don’t care to identify as either. Whereas Trans people identify specifically as one, just not the gender they were born into it.
    It doesn’t have anything to do with sexual orientation, although, I imagine you’d have to consider yourself as pansexual to be attracted to someone who identifies as gender queer.

  3. A new word for the old word: Androgynous, but with a slightly more specific definition as to how it applies to self-identified sexuality.

  4. it seems to me were mixing some semantics in our descriptors… should it be :

    male/female = biological

    man/woman (masculine /feminine) = societal/gender identity

    heterosexual /homosexual = sexual preferences

    example: i am male (penis) /gender queer(eschewing traditional gender roles) /heterosexual (prefer females sexualy)

    is this correct?

  5. The rules for this subreddit say “Only give explanations from an brutally unbiased standpoint. Full stop. If you cannot avoid editorializing, soapboxing, debating, flaming, or arguing, do not post.” (my emphasis) The problem with trying to answer this question while following these rules is that the word “gender” as it’s used in this context is inherently subjective. It only refers to personal experience, so how can one be unbiased?

    That said, here’s my attempt to describe the phenomenon, and please correct me if I’m off-base: “trans” and “genderqueer” are modern Western concepts used by people who are experiencing intense dissonance between their own natural inclinations / desires / abilities (sexual and otherwise) on the one hand, and the expectations that parents and others have of them because of their sex. Choosing to identify yourself as “trans” is one rather radical and risky way of bucking those expectations, attempting to adopt instead those of the opposite sex. “Genderqueer,” then, would be something you’d choose to identify yourself as if you feel you must reject the expectations that accompany both sexes in your society. The problem with these terms are that most people in society don’t accept them, or even know them. So at this point, it’s only a successful strategy within that segment of the population who’s open to it. Whether that is going to change, only time will tell.

    Side note: a common assertion from the genderqueer and trans people that I know is that if we had more than two gender identities available (e.g. Thai “ladyboys”), then overt rebellion from these norms, i.e. being “crazy” (as many of the commenters have stated or implied genderqueer people are) wouldn’t be necessary, because there would be ways of being that work both for the individual and the society. It could be argued that “gay man” and “lesbian” are becoming a third and fourth “gender” in Western society currently, with their own sets of expectations for behavior.

    TLDR People who identify as “genderqueer” pretty much don’t quite seem like dudes but don’t quite seem like chicks either, so they’re trying to find a third way.

  6. Ok, I’ll preface this by saying- genderqueer is a term initially meant to be empathically descriptive and respectful, but has been co-opted by all manner of armchair SJWs for all manner of malicious or discriminatory purposes. As a result, you’ll have a lot of hostile response to this both by those who’ve been targeted by such audiences, and those who don’t believe in thoughtful/person centered language and prefer hard empirical and/or group centered language. It’s also specifically regarding gender as a psychological label/social construct and not as describing physical parts, as one would in anatomy and harder sciences.

    It helps to grasp this if you think of both sexuality and gender (IN PSYCHOLOGY and not physical anatomy) as separate but related attributes, sort of like each one is an axis on a graph. Sexuality predominantly deals with which groups a person is attracted to. Gender has more to do with how someone individually feels and identifies as male and/or female relative to the society they’re in- modern psychology treats this more as a gradient (or an axis on the graph) that leans toward one or the other, INSTEAD of just describing it as ‘male’ and ‘female’.

    Here’s why this approach is the popular one: the things that qualify as ‘male’ and ‘female’ personality traits, if we were to try and empirically categorize them, would be based on society’s subjective opinions (sociology) so instead it’s become a popular notion to treat gender as something purely personal and to cease trying to predict it to the most precise detail empirically. We rely on others to tell us how they feel about their gender, how they identify it, something admittedly subjective, because even if it is totally opinion, it’s still a more ‘worthy’ or ‘reliable’ source of data than asking society at large (still subjective, cultural barriers, a major anthropological thing)- it’s an ethical matter, personal identity priority versus that defined by larger society.

    If a person feels like they’ve always been male or female, or lean enough toward one end of that gender gradient, they identify with that gender. While sexuality is fundamentally different, sexuality can also influence someone’s gender perception too.

    So if someone doesn’t feel that they lean enough toward one gender to truly feel comfortable calling themselves one or the two, genderqueer is a word to describe that. Transgender being a wider label for someone who’s gender identity is opposite than it used to be, and/or has physically changed sex (again- not necessarily the same thing, but definitely related), genderqueer seems more specifically to deal with not really being comfortable having a preference. Since it’s not so empirical a word, lots of other similar words have become the norm to describe both gender and sexuality. Genderfluid, for example, is meant to describe someone who feels like they identify more as one gender one day than another, as opposed to the kind of consistency genderqueer implies.

    So short, summarized version: try to see gender and sexuality as describing fundamentally different ideas that are related to each other, and both as having their own gradient (scale) instead of just being ‘male’ or ‘female’. Because we all sorta get ‘gender’ as a psychological idea, but can’t so reliably empirically categorize it at all times, the best path tends to be trusting the person identifying honestly as the gender they feel. ‘Genderqueer’ is rising social/person centered word to describe one self if they’re not comfortable using the words ‘male’ or ‘female’ alone to describe themselves.

  7. ELI41…I have never heard of this word and learned something interesting today

  8. Genderqueer is a catch all people who do not identify solely with their birth ~~gender~~ sex.