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A sincere question

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

What is "genderqueer"?

 

I understand transgender (or think I do).  It's when someone knows themself to be different from what their body (originally) presents.  For example, a little girl who happens to have the body of a boy, or a man who was a natal female.

 

But, in reading about transgender issues, I have come across the term genderqueer, and I realized that I have no real idea what this is. 

 

Can anyone please inform me?  Or point me in the direction of a well-balanced website with this (and other) terms explained?  How is this different from "intersexed"?  I think I have an idea on that, but realize that I'm still not as informed as I'd like to be.

 

(I came to MDC for this question because I trust the posters here.  I'm sure there are lots of websites that would come up if I searched for the term, and I'm sure a lot of those have some sort of shame-based agenda.  I'd like to avoid that.)

 

Thank you very much.

 

post #2 of 4

I don't identify as genderqueer, and I know there are others on here who do (or whose partners do) so I am not really a great authority... but I understand genderqueer to encompass all who identify outside of the binary gender system- those who identify as female-to-male, male-to-female, or anywhere in the spectrum of gender (both or neither male or female) or even those who are unsure about or exploring their gender identity. (Also including those who have or have not decided to use hormone treatments, surgery, etc. to alter their body physically.) I see the term as an all-encompassing word similar to how "queer" can refer to a wide spectrum of actual sexual orientations.

 

I'm sure you'll get some better answers from others. :P

post #3 of 4
Hi! I'm not genderqueer, either, but I'll add to what KSDoula was saying--someone tell me if I'm wrong!

Intersex is a physical condition--usually having ambiguous genitalia (that is, ambiguous to the doctor and/or parents at birth) or genitals that don't match the chromosomal makeup of the individual (looking 'female' but having XY chromosomes, for example). There are lots and lots of variations, including different chromosome set-ups (XXY, XYY, etc), some of which come with other medical problems and some that don't seem to affect people much at all. Some intersex folks are assigned a gender that works for them, some aren't, and some are made to look more like one gender or another, which seems like a recipe for disaster later if the adults don't guess correctly and perform surgery that is later found to be unwanted. For much more (and better, first-hand, detailed) information, head to the Intersex Society of North America: isna.org.

Genderqueer is, as I understand it, pretty much what KS said--more of a social/mental interpretation of gender. You can feel like you are male, female, neither, both, or something in-between that doesn't have a good definition. For more on gender issues, I'd hit up Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman--they both write separately, but have a book called Gender Outlaws together, which is a good jumping off point for a lot of these kinds of questions. I'd also venture to say that Kate Bornstein seems to be particularly approachable--she answers personal letters, I think. If you want clarification on anything, you can probably just go ahead and ask her, and she may very well write back.

A person can be both intersex and genderqueer, I would imagine, but I don't want to speak to that too much since I don't have personal experience.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you both!

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