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9 Things To Never Say To Someone Who Is Genderqueer

9 Things To Never Say To Someone Who Is Genderqueer

9 Things To Never Say To Someone Who Is Genderqueer

Embrace all identities.

Genderqueerness refers to an identification with neither, both or a combination of male and female genders across a spectrum. Genderfluid, androgynous, non-binary and other terms are also used by those who fit this description in some way. Many genderqueer people don't choose to have any type of surgery to alter their physical appearance; many do. Like sexuality, it's a broad and beautiful church.

1. "Are you a boy or a girl?"

My genderqueer partner always uses the simple answer of "yes". I love watching people open and shut their mouths like goldfish when they hear that. "No" or "maybe" also work as responses.


2. "But you look so much like a woman/man."

Being genderqueer doesn't mean presenting or identifying as an exact 50/50 mix of male and female. It just means there's a mix. Also genderfluidity means you may differ from day to day.



3. "So you're trans?"

Being genderqueer means not identifying as binary male or female. Being trans means being born into a cis-male or cis-female body but having a brain which errs more towards the other end of the spectrum to your physical birth gender. This means you can of course also be trans and on the genderqueer spectrum: they aren't mutually exclusive.

4. "What were you before, then?"

Before when? Sure, people grow into an understanding of their identity as they mature, but the seeds of an unorthodox gender identity have normally set in as soon as an awareness of gender is there (at least to some extent).

5. "It's just the latest trend..."

No, it's just that it's finally coming out in the open. And that's great.



6. "I can't handle all that, I'll just call you he/she."

This one is a bit like saying "I'll call you Jane because I can't pronounce your weird foreign name." Totally. Disrespectful.

7. "You're only one person - 'they/them/their' is grammatically incorrect!"

I admit, I originally found it hard to deal with using those terms to refer to my partner - especially given that I'm a writer and editor. But eventually most sensible people realize that you're not just being illiterate. And if you're lucky they ask why you're using those terms... and a dialogue ensues. And that's good.



8. "Oh shit, you must hate me for calling you he/she!"

If it's a slip-up and not just laziness, hatred probably won't be on the cards. If you're trying to learn and be respectful but you're a little out of the zone you're used to, slip-ups happen.


9. "But if you're 'demi-girl'/'demi-boy', you are just a boy or a girl, surely?"

"Demi-girl" and "demi-boy" refer to identifying mainly as one gender but also acknowledging characteristics of the "opposite" gender. So they fall along a spectrum. They are still very valid struts in the genderqueer umbrella.


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Charlotte Dingle