Who knew one term could mean so much!

Here are the top ten things you didn’t know about genderqueer identity…

1. Those who identity as genderqueer often want to challenge societal norms

The term Genderqueer has been defined as “incongruence among biological sex, gender identity and socially prescribed gender, and experiencing one’s gender as outside the gender binary.”[1] Some individuals who identify as genderqueer don’t follow and reject the gender binary norms for males and females that society has implanted. They also seek to

“ISABELLE LIGHTWOOD NOT MOST PEOPLE GIF BY SHADOWHUNTERS” source: GIPHY. Undated.

challenge the societal norm/rule that one must be one gender or the other no in-between and identifying as genderqueer allows them to this. [2] Some individuals who identify as genderqueer don’t follow the binary gender norms that society has implanted. “some people may identify as predominantly male, but with aspects of the ‘other’ gender and use the identity term ‘male’ generally; or may identify as predominantly female, but with aspects of the ‘other’ gender and use the identity term ‘female’ generally – but both groups of people may define additionally as ‘genderqueer’ when necessary.”[3]

 

2. The term genderqueer has many different labels and ways of describing one’s gender identity

Genderqueer is an incredibly fluid term, it serves as an umbrella term, allowing for many different forms of gender variance to be included and leading to a lot of diversity among genderqueer individuals because there is so many ways to describe a person’s genderqueer identity. “there is no universally accepted definition of

“OH MY GOSH THERE’S SO MANY LAUREN CONRAD GIF BY THE HILLS” Source: GIPHY. Undated.

genderqueer, which may reflect the genderqueer community‘s resistance to being pigeonholed into a single category.”[1] While those who don’t wish to conform to gender binary standards aren’t only classified as being genderqueer, they could also be referred to androgynous, gender-variant, intergender, non-normatively gendered, transgender, transsexual, third gender, gender atypical, hermaphrodyke and many others. [2] Many genderqueer individuals identify as under this umbrella term as transgender, however, not all genderqueer individuals will do this because they feel that by identifying as transgender and being apart of that community would involve them a binary gender. “’Genderqueer means millions of different things to a million different people. Genderqueer goes along with a variety of bodies and desires.’” [3] The genderqueer identity has so many advantages because it allows for individuals to transcend gender categories, and it has a wide range of gender identities, which gives so much diversity to the genderqueer community.

3. Androgynous individuals display greater coping flexibility

When androgynous first-year college students were given a range of stressful real-life

“SAD DISNEY GIF” source: GIPHY. Undated.

situations, those androgynous students reaction differed from the individuals who identified as feminine and masculine in the different and major ways. The first was that the androgynous students were more likely to be more sensitive to the subtle differences between distinctive stressful events “as reflected by their flexible deployment of different strategies and their ability to distinguish situational effectiveness of coping strategies.”[4] The second way androgynous students differed was in their flexible pattern of strategies which were meaningful rather than just random patterns. These students took direct action to change the situations/stressors that were seen as being controllable, but when they encountered situations/stressors that were seen as being uncontrollable they changed themselves through acceptance. The third and final way was that “androgynous individuals experience a lower depression level in a stressfu

“MACHO MAN ACCEPTANCE GIF” source: GIPHY. Undated.

l period of life transition than do others, thus providing support for the androgyny model but not the masculinity model.”[5] These results indicate androgynous individuals tend to be more in tune and flexible in using their own coping strategies and are more responsive to characteristics of the current situation, as they have the ability to change their coping process based on situation. Showing that androgynous individuals coping processes are more “person-oriented and situation-driven thinking.”[6]

4. Genderqueer has their own set of unique pronouns

Like identity, with pronouns genderqueer individuals want to use pronouns that are nontraditional because it’s a part of the identity of a genderqueer individual to be nontraditional. “Multiple pronouns have been introduced to be used to properly describe a transgender or genderqueer individual. ‘Zie’ and ‘hir’ were first used by the transgender and genderqueer community, yet these options were considered too feminine since ‘sie’ means ‘she’ in German and

“SAM EVANS GIF” source: GIPHY.

‘hir’ is a feminine pronoun in Middle English. Ne/nem/nir/nirs/nemself was introduced to avoid gender-neutral pronouns that are derived from gendered

pronouns. The ‘n’ at the beginning of each pronoun stands for neutral, and there is a clear grammatical pattern for its derivations.”[7] While many genderqueer individuals prefer to be referred by more gender-neutral pronouns, there are other genderqueer individuals that wish to be referred to with the pronoun “they”; but many in the genderqueer community “refuse to use this term because they perceive it as a plural pronoun, grammatically incorrect, or both.” [8]

5. Tumblr has a big influence on the genderqueer community

Tumblr has been a space where the genderqueer tumblr community can create an environment in which individuals can interpret photographs away from the constructs of gender binary’s. “These tumblrs further real-time practices of self-determination in which people gender body parts and sexual behavior based on self-understandings rather than

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essentialist or preconceived understandings of how bodies signify.”[9] Tumblr has also been especially useful for revealing the collective of the online queer trans creativity, especially with sexual expression, and the everyday merging of genderqueer culture, and politics. This medium plays a unique role in the genderqueer community, because it’s a digital environment that allows them to broadcast their own representations of a trans experience beyond the “local contexts and spatial boundaries.”[10] It has also allowed members of the genderqueer tumblr community to “displace pernicious norms conditioning representations of trans people within the constraints of mainstream spaces (online and off).”[11] These tumblrs have also aided in the joint departures from the trans and cis norms, it has additionally highlighted the way which some trans individuals cultural practices that are connected to sexuality and gender, that can contribute to queer culture. In queer media sexuality and sexual experiences/formations of transnational, disabled, and genderqueer identities are influential and fundamental part of current ways in which trans people

“SCOTT PILGRIM BLOG GIF” Source: GIPHY

participate in queer media traditions and the self-expression and sexual practices of trans individuals. Correspondingly to both pronouns and identity, there too is a resistance to the traditional norms in tumblr as many reject the dominant media. This implies that the conflicting depictions of trans has to shift and evolve as technology changes.

6. The Bem Sex-Role Inventory made it possible to be characterized as having both male and female qualities

In the article, The Measurement of Psychological Androgyny, written by Sandra L. Bem, Bem describes the development of a new sex role inventory called the the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI). The BSRI “contains a number of features that distinguish it from other, commonly used, masculinity femininity

“BOTH IS GOOD THE ROAD TO EL DORADO GIF” Source: GIPHY

scales,”[12] it discusses how femininity and masculinity are treated as two independent dimensions. Historically, a person either has to be feminine or masculine, never both, the BSRI makes it possible that many individuals could be characterized as having both male and female qualities and behaviors, also known as being androgynous. The BSRI is an inventory that doesn’t “automatically build in an inverse relationship between masculinity and femininity,”[13] the BSRI includes a femininity and masculinity scale that has 20 personality characteristics. When this inventory was developed it was hoped that the BSRI would encourage those who examined the areas of sex role and sex difference to begin questioning the traditional expectations about “sex-typed individual who typifies mental health and to begin focusing on the behavioral and societal consequences of more flexible sex-role self-concepts.”[14]

7.  David Bowie was one of the first to show it was okay to push the boundaries of gender

David Bowie is an androgynous icon, when he arrived on the music scene in the 1960s androgyny was in the beginning stages of being recognized as type of fashion. In 1964, young Bowie was pushing and questioning the gender norms that had dominated society and societies style, when he appeared on

“DAVID BOWIE GIF” Source: GIPHY

television giving an interview defending his choice to have his hair be long as the spokesperson for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. Bowie began experimenting early on in his career with dramatic hairstyles, theatrical makeup and revolutionary fashion. In 1967, he played a mime in “Pierrot in Turquoise” at the Oxford New Theater, he transcended categories as he was able to be androgynous, hyper-sexual, and theatrical all at the same time, which was very progressive for a time where gender was

strictly seen as being one binary. When Bowie first came onto the scene he didn’t find an audience immediately as the androgynous style at the time was still very transgressive for society. 1972 was when Bowie’s “alien androgynous alter ego,”[15] Ziggy Stardust, came bursting into the public eye with red mullet, a form fitting striped bodysuit and endless “swag”.  “In 1973, the cover of “Aladdin Sane” showed Bowie’s iconic lightning-bolt face makeup just as androgynous fashion began to reach more people than ever,”[16] with the development of MTV it allowed for Bowie to reach a wider audience than ever before, as his fame grew so did his influence in pop culture and in fashion. David Bowie showed that is was okay to push the societal boundaries of gender and that those things weren’t important to his androgynous style.

8.  Androgyny goes back to ancient times
“Burney Relief / Queen of the Night” Source: Wikipedia

While genderqueer may be a newer term there are many aspects of genderqueer that date back to ancient times. In an ancient plaque named the Queen of the Night, there is a naked woman who is wearing the horned headdress which could be related to the goddess of sexual love and war Ishtar. It was said that the followers of this goddess (who were called Kurgarrus) could have their gender changed by Ishatar from male to female. There is a male god Vishnu and his female companion Lakshmi, in Hinduism, that makes up the deity Lakshminaravan. Sometimes this deity is represented as a single figure on which the left side of its body is female, and the right side is male. Most images of this deity come from Nepal, a place where both Buddhism and Hinduism are often practiced together. Deities of these practices are “often thought to transcend the boundaries of male and female mortal gender.”[17] In the figure Ardhanarisvara, which represents the god Shiva and his female companion Parvati, Shiva who is an obvious representation of males, also shows subtle hints of androgyny through his “differently- shaped earrings.”[18]

When the Europeans discovered the “New World”, they encountered many different societies and gender roles, that were extremely different from what their own gender roles were. In order to shape these gender roles to match their own culture, the European colonists decided that if there was any indication of “sodomy” there would be extreme violence against the perpetrator (indigenous populations). “In indigenous American societies cross-dressing was common and some important pre-Columbian deities have male and female attribute in both oral accounts and visual representations.”[19] Among the Aztecs, there was a goddess of filth and sexual excess, this goddess sometimes embodied characteristic of a warrior woman that had the characteristics of both male and female.

9. There is a lot pressure for genderqueers to transition fully

In society there is a pressure for genderqueers to “transition fully” into a binary gender and to be recognized as identifying as genderqueer. As a result of this, those who identify as genderqueer often make a conscious decision to confuse those who attempt to place them into categories, they are not concerned with whether or not they pass as female or male. Many genderqueers seek out different ways to make sure that they are visibly seen as being genderqueer. There are many genderqueer individuals who fear that their identity are possibly invisible to others. While there is pressure to be

“PRESSURE METER GIF BY SOUTH PARK” source: GIPHY

seen as being genderqueer, there is also immense pressure from society to transition fully into a gender/gender role. “Participants did not always experience others to be affirming of their genderqueer identities, but instead, felt like others were waiting for them to come out as transgender.”[20] Since genderqueer is a “non-traditional way” of being trans, some genderqueer individuals have struggled with this since is a lack of resources in therapeutic support and guidance and social recognition available for “who do not wish to transition fully to a male identity but who also are not comfortable with their female bodies.”[21]

10. There are may microaggressions against genderqueer people

While there hasn’t been much literature on the subject on microaggression and genderqueer individuals, many studies have emphasized different type of microaggressions that genderqueer individuals encounter. In 2010 there was a survey done called the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), this survey showed that genderqueer individuals “people face unique aspects of discrimination and health disparities compared to their binary transgender peers.”[22] Genderqueer individuals also reported high rates of minority stress-related health issues which includes, harassment, suicide, sexual assault, discrimination in a healthcare setting. Compared to those who identify as trans, genderqueer individuals also experience higher harassments rates in

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elementary school. However, the most common type of the microaggression for genderqueer individuals is the assumption of their gender binary. In one study, gender non-conforming individuals to look at their experience with the health care system. “Participants reported experiencing discrimination as a result of their gender identity/presentation across all domains of the health care system.”[23] This is represented in there being only binary gender bathrooms, checkboxes on both insurance forms and intakes. In insurance policies they either passively omitted or “actively excluded transgender-specific services, such as hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery, and discrimination during interactions with health care providers.”[24] Another study looked into the discrimination and harassment among youths who identify as genderqueer “participants described instances in which they were pressured to conform to their gender assigned at birth, aligning with the previous microaggression theme of endorsement of heteronormative or gender conforming behaviors.”[25]

Footnotes

[1] Jennifer L. Evans. 2010. “Genderqueer Identity and Self-Perception.” Clinical Dissertation, The California School of Professional Psychology San Francisco Campus: Alliant International University. file:///C:/Users/Kristen/AppData/Local/Packages/Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe/TempState/Downloads/Genderqueer_identity_and_self_.pdf. 1

[2] Trevor G. Gates. 2010. “Combating Problem and Pathology: A Genderqueer Primer for the Human Service Educator.” Journal of Human Services 30 (1): 54–64. 56

[3] Christina Richards, Walter Pierre Bouman, Leighton Seal, Meg John Barker, Timo O. Nieder, and Guy T’Sjoen. 2016. “Non-Binary or Genderqueer Genders.” INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF PSYCHIATRY 28 (1): 95–102. 95

[1] Trevor G. Gates. 2010. “Combating Problem and Pathology: A Genderqueer Primer for the Human Service Educator.” Journal of Human Services 30 (1): 54–64. 56

[2] Christina Richards, Walter Pierre Bouman, Leighton Seal, Meg John Barker, Timo O. Nieder, and Guy T’Sjoen. 2016. “Non-Binary or Genderqueer Genders.” INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF PSYCHIATRY 28 (1): 95–102. 96

[3] Megan Davidson. 2007. “Seeking Refuge Under the Umbrella: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Organizing Within the Category Transgender.” Sexuality Research & Social Policy: Journal of NSRC 4 (4): 60–80. 70

[4] Cecilia Cheng. 2005. “Processes Underlying Gender-Role Flexibility: Do Androgynous Individuals Know More or Know How to Cope?” Journal of Personality 73 (3): 645–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2005.00324.x. 660

[5] Cecilia Cheng. 2005. “Processes Underlying Gender-Role Flexibility: Do Androgynous Individuals Know More or Know How to Cope?” Journal of Personality 73 (3): 645–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2005.00324.x. 660

[6] Cecilia Cheng. 2005. “Processes Underlying Gender-Role Flexibility: Do Androgynous Individuals Know More or Know How to Cope?” Journal of Personality 73 (3): 645–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2005.00324.x 668

[7] Brandon Darr, and Tyler Kibbey. 2016. “Pronouns and Thoughts on Neutrality: Gender Concerns in Modern Grammar.” Pursuit The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee 7 (1): 71–85. 75

[8] Kevin L. Nadal, Chassitty N. Whitman, Lindsey S. Davis, Tanya Erazo, and Kristin C. Davidoff. 2016. “Microaggressions Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Genderqueer People: A Review of the Literature.” THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 53 (4–5): 488–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2016.1142495. 501

[9] Marty Fink, and Quinn Miller. 2014. “Trans Media Moments: Tumblr, 2011–2013.” Television & New Media 15 (7): 611–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476413505002. 622

[10] Marty Fink, and Quinn Miller. 2014. “Trans Media Moments: Tumblr, 2011–2013.” Television & New Media 15 (7): 611–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476413505002. 613

[11] Marty Fink, and Quinn Miller. 2014. “Trans Media Moments: Tumblr, 2011–2013.” Television & New Media 15 (7): 611–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/1527476413505002 615

[12] Sandra L. Bem. 1974. “THE MEASUREMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ANDROGYNY.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 42 (2): 155–62. 155

[13] Sandra L. Bem. 1974. “THE MEASUREMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ANDROGYNY.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 42 (2): 155–62. 155

[14] Sandra L. Bem. 1974. “THE MEASUREMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ANDROGYNY.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 42 (2): 155–62. 162

[15] Corinne Segal. 2016. “David Bowie Made Androgyny Cool, and It Was about Time.” .org. PBS. 2016. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/david-bowie-made-androgyny-cool-and-it-was-about-time.

[16] Corinne Segal. 2016. “David Bowie Made Androgyny Cool, and It Was about Time.” .org. PBS. 2016. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/david-bowie-made-androgyny-cool-and-it-was-about-time.

[17] The Britsh Museum. n.d. “Gender Identity.” .org. The British Musuem. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/themes/same-sex_desire_and_gender/gender_identity.aspx#1.

[18] The Britsh Museum. n.d. “Gender Identity.” .org. The British Musuem. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/themes/same-sex_desire_and_gender/gender_identity.aspx#1.

[19] The Britsh Museum. n.d. “Gender Identity.” .org. The British Musuem. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/themes/same-sex_desire_and_gender/gender_identity.aspx#1.

[20]Sarah L. Schulz. 2012. “Gender Identity: Pending? Identity Development and Health Care Experiences of Transmasculine/Genderqueer Identified Individuals.” Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt2ph0m6vr/qt2ph0m6vr.pdf. 29

[21] Sarah L. Schulz. 2012. “Gender Identity: Pending? Identity Development and Health Care Experiences of Transmasculine/Genderqueer Identified Individuals.” Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt2ph0m6vr/qt2ph0m6vr.pdf. 29

[22] James Elliot Lykens. 2016. “THE TRANSGENDER BINARY AND GENDERQUEER HEALTH.” San Francisco, California: San Francisco State University. http://sfsu-dspace.calstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.3/173348/AS362016HMSXL95.pdf?sequence=1.

[23] Kevin L. Nadal, Chassitty N. Whitman, Lindsey S. Davis, Tanya Erazo, and Kristin C. Davidoff. 2016. “Microaggressions Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Genderqueer People: A Review of the Literature.” THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 53 (4–5): 488–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2016.1142495. 500

[24] Kevin L. Nadal, Chassitty N. Whitman, Lindsey S. Davis, Tanya Erazo, and Kristin C. Davidoff. 2016. “Microaggressions Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Genderqueer People: A Review of the Literature.” THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 53 (4–5): 488–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2016.1142495. 500

[25] Kevin L. Nadal, Chassitty N. Whitman, Lindsey S. Davis, Tanya Erazo, and Kristin C. Davidoff. 2016. “Microaggressions Toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Genderqueer People: A Review of the Literature.” THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 53 (4–5): 488–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2016.1142495. 501

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