Q&A: “Is it just me, or has the definition [of agender] shifted?”
I’ve got a question about agender. I was sifting through some of your old posts and noticed that you’ve previously framed agender as including “doesn’t have any gender identity at all.” Is it just me, or has that definition shifted? I use quoigender over agender because I’ve always gotten this vibe from the nonbinary community(ies) that agender is a gender identity, like how asexuality is a sexual orientation. (Incidentally, I hope that you’re hiatus has helped you recover.)
hello anon. thanks for the kind wishes and sorry for taking so long to get to your ask.
i’m guessing that the old post that you are referencing might be this one? either way, i feel like everything that i said in that post still holds true today and not much has changed…?
the non-binary community in general– and indeed, many agender people themselves– still has / have a tendency to include agender as a specific gender (and / or identity) under the ‘non-binary umbrella’, but from time to time i do still come across agender people who distance themselves from the non-binary community and such treatment of ‘agender’ as an explicit gender. admittedly, i think it’s safe to say that that particular usage of ‘agender’ (not non-binary, not a gender) does seem to be increasingly less common, to some people’s dismay…. but i feel like such usage has been on a gradual but steady decline for years now…?
cue: completely baseless conjecture à la dubious Memory Lane
i feel like ~2013 was the “first wave” of gender diversity that created the present day non-binary community with the advent of terminology / identities such as ‘genderqueer’ and later ‘agender’, ‘neutrois’, ‘genderless’, ‘androgynous’ and later still ‘transmasculine’, ‘transfeminine’. i think it was during this time that the “not a gender at all, literally gender-l-e-s-s” definition was most common (although even then there was still conflict due to that usage of ‘agender’ vs ‘genderless’ itself as an identity), but then came along a “second wave” of gender diversity with the advent of ‘non-binary’, ‘genderfluid’, ‘bigender’, ‘two-spirit’ (*cough*appropriation*cough*) and then the subsequent rapid increase in new terms / identities via Tumblr. all of that combined with the steady decline in people identifying as neutrois (and thus decline in people juxtaposing neutrois with agender) during that “second wave” plays a part in how the usage and meaning of ‘agender’ ended up shifting to where it is today….??
…eh, take the above with a grain of salt, but yeah. i’d say that that vibe that you’ve gotten is very much a thing and from my observations, i think it’s safe to say that others have also noticed this shift in usage and some aren’t exactly happy about it.