Wondering what the meaning of gender fluid is? We can help. Read on as we explore the term gender fluid to uncover its definition, origin, and more.
Do you know what gender fluid means? Is gender neutrality the same as gender fluidity? What is gender? You have questions, and we have answers — read on as we explore the term gender fluid to uncover its definition, origin, and more.
What is the Definition of Gender Fluid?
To truly understand what gender fluid means, it can be helpful to review several definitions instead of just one. So, to begin our journey in understanding gender fluidity, let’s take a look at three definitions provided by a few trusted sources:
- Noted as an adjective, Dictionary.com says the term gender fluid refers to nonbinary gender identity or gender expression that’s not fixed and may change over time.
- According to the Macmillian Dictionary, gender fluid refers to or relates to an individual who does not identify as having a fixed gender.
- Added to its list of official English language words in 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary defines gender-fluid as not clearly or wholly male or female; androgynous.
Although each definition varies slightly, we can conclude that gender fluidity refers to changes in an individual’s gender expression, gender identity, or both. If a person identifies as gender fluid, they could identify with one gender, multiple genders, or no gender at all.
Terms Associated with Gender Fluidity
You’ll likely come across many different terms as you widen your knowledge of gender fluidity. To prevent any potential confusion, we’ve put together a list of words that are commonly associated with the term gender fluid below:
- Agender — refers to those whose gender identity and expression doesn’t align with man, woman, or any other gender.
- Androgynous — having physical elements of both masculinity and femininity, whether expressed through gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
- Asexual — sometimes called “ace” for short, asexual refers to a complete or partial lack of sexual attraction or lack of interest in sexual activity with others.
- Bigender — refers to a person who fluctuates between male and female gender-based behaviors and identities.
- Bisexual — an individual who is emotionally, sexually, or romantically attracted to more than one gender, sex, or gender identity.
- Cisgender — means a person’s gender identity matches their biological sex.
- Gender Dysphoria — is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth.
- Gender Expression — is how an individual presents their gender to the world through behavior, clothing, or other perceived characteristics. Society identifies these cues as feminine or masculine, although what’s considered feminine or masculine is subjective.
- Gender Identity — refers to one’s own internal sense of self and gender.
- Genderqueer — refers to people who blur preconceived boundaries of gender concerning the gender binary.
- Non-binary — is used by people who don’t describe themselves as fitting into the categories of man or woman.
- Pronouns — are the words used to refer to an individual other than their name. Common pronouns include they/them, he/him, and she/her.
- Transgender — or simply trans, is a term used to describe someone whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. A trans woman, for example, is someone who was labeled as a male at birth but whose gender identity is female.
What’s the Difference Between Gender-Fluid and Gender Neutral?
Gender fluidity is often used interchangeably with gender neutrality, but the two terms have different meanings.
As mentioned above, gender fluid refers to a person who embraces an adaptable nature to the concept of gender expression and gender identity. On the other hand, gender-neutral is often used to describe people of any gender.
How to Support the Gender-Fluid Community
Whether it’s a family member, friend, or colleague, it’s important to accept and support the individual going through this experience. Some of the ways you can show your support include:
- Be a good listener when loved ones narrate their perspective of their gender.
- Support the gender-fluid person in making educated decisions about gender-affirming care, such as gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapy.
- Connect them to resources and support so they can talk to others with similar experiences.
- Be an ally and advocate.
- Stand up against discrimination.
A Final Word
So, now you know what gender fluid means!
Simply put, gender fluid is a term used to describe non-gender-conforming people who shift in their gender identity over time. A genderfluid person’s gender can change dramatically, rapidly, delicately, or slowly.
A few well-known celebrities who have come out as gender-fluid include Ruby Rose, Miley Cyrus, Steven Tyler, Jaden Smith, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, and Demi Lovato.
Unlike someone with a fixed identity that doesn’t change over time, a genderfluid individual acknowledges that their gender identity can be totally different depending on when you ask and how they’re feeling internally.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while there are gender-fluid individuals who can fit under the umbrella of nonbinary gender identities, not all nonbinary people consider themselves to be gender fluid. Some nonbinary folks have a fixed gender, whereas others who are fluid may identify as a different gender daily.
At the end of the day, people are people — regardless of how they identify on the gender spectrum. Be courteous to those around you and be an ally and advocate for your gender-fluid friends.