[Random] Thoughts,  Gender[queer],  Q&A

random thoughts on ‘genderqueer’ & ‘non-binary’

unknought wrote in:

“What you describe as feeling “degendered” by being called non-binary seems similar to how some people eventually started feeling about the term/identity genderqueer.” Would you be able to say more about this and/or provide a source? I had just been asking people about how nonbinary seems to have taken the place genderqueer had five years ago, and it sounds like you have an idea what’s been going on there?


(in reference to this post)

all that follows is nothing more than my opinion and personal observation, but… reflecting back over the past 6 years in which i personally have gone from identifying as genderqueer to not using the term to describe myself at all anymore, i feel like i’ve seen three major things happen within online genderqueer and non-binary communities that have ultimately resulted in the decline in usage of  the word “genderqueer” by some people?

1. years ago “genderqueer” was more commonly used as a specific gender identity. only later did it shift towards becoming an umbrella term for numerous more specific gender identities. at the same time, there were people who weren’t comfortable with “queer” being a part of the word due to it being a slur and/or because it felt like a political statement/intentionally non-conformist. eventually, along came coinage of the term “non-binary” as an alternative to the genderqueer umbrella, which kind of divided the community? many people identified as both, but not everyone did. and of course eventually “non-binary” also shifted towards becoming a specific gender identity for some people. however, with the coinage of “non-binary,” what was once one big category of “other” became much less unified– if it ever was to begin with.

2. as genderqueer being used as an umbrella term became the norm, more and more people grew to dislike the vagueness of the word. they felt like it wasn’t specific enough. whatever meaning it once had for them wasn’t as comfortable a fit anymore. undoubtedly, this wasn’t due entirely to the word becoming an umbrella term; as awareness of various non-binary genders began to grow, it became easier to be more specific. and as awareness of the word genderqueer grew, eventually the word made it into the media. some people began to draw away from it because of society viewing genderqueer identity as a trend or fad among young people.

3. with growing awareness and visibility of genderqueer people both in the media and within the LGBTQIA community, there is now growing pushback against what has become the stereotypical image of a genderqueer person: skinny, white, “masculine” and yet “androgynous”, conventionally attractive, AFAB person. the same pushback can be seen within the non-binary community, but i feel like i’ve seen the word “genderqueer” used even more? especially by the media. this is but my opinion, but i’d venture a guess that many people, like myself, began to disassociate with that image of genderqueer identity. even though the same is now happening with the term “non-binary”, it’s still the term “genderqueer” that has more media usage, that gets thrown around more readily even as an adjective to describe a line of fashion, etc and this usage has influenced not only how society views the word “genderqueer”, but even how non-binary and genderqueer people view the word?

again, i am by no means a historian nor an expert on anything. all of this is just me thinking introspectively on things that i’ve personally noticed over the years. if you want actual historical fact, this would probably be a good place to start, but at 2:51am i can’t even be bothered to read that to fact check my own memory lol…

if anyone else out there has anything they’d like to share on this topic, please do. even if it’s in disagreement with what i’ve said.

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

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