What It Means To Be Genderfluid
As with all things gender related, the term genderfluid may mean something a little different to everyone.
Why is this?
Gender itself means something different to everyone, because each person has a unique experience of gender. For some, it’s an inner feeling. For others, it’s much more of a physical experience. Not to mention that gender identity and gender expression are separate aspects of gender that may or may not be the same.
What Does Genderfluid Mean?
According to the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, identifying as genderfluid means your gender identity is not fixed; it’s capable of changing over time. The very definition lends itself to various interpretations. Some sources include shifting from male to female given your mood in their definitions, while others state that it’s the feeling of being both male and female. A genderfluid individual has the potential to identify as male, female, both or neither on any given day.
Genderfluidity doesn’t necessarily have a fixed point on the gender spectrum, as by its very definition, it’s fluid. It fluctuates and has its own spectrum. An individual may feel 10% female and 90% male, or 40% male and 60% female, or any range in between. Leaning one way or another, shifting along the spectrum, or having a unchanging experience of gender does not make a genderfluid identity any less valid.
Gender Identity | Gender Expression | Sexual Identity
These three aspects of who someone is—gender identity, gender expression and sexual identity—often cause confusion for those who aren’t really sure what each one means. Let’s remedy that.
Gender identity is your personal sense of gender. For example, as a genderfluid person, sometimes I feel female, other times I feel male, and sometimes I feel like I’m neither. My personal experience with being genderfluid means not experiencing my gender as static.
Gender expression is how you express your gender identity. This can be done through your appearance, such as with clothing choices, or even through behaviors. Identity and expression are commonly confused, largely due to stereotypes or societal expectations. For example, identifying as genderfluid comes with an expectation of presenting masculine and feminine at separate times, but these are two different things, and a genderfluid person may or may not wish to vary their gender expression.
Give yourself permission to express your chosen gender in any way YOU see fit. Explore what identity and expression mean to you, and then go for it. Be who you feel you are in whatever way feels most natural to you.
Finally, sexual identity is often confused with gender identity; however, they are not the same thing. Sexual orientation is tied to the gender of who you are or are not attracted to, romantically interested in, or want to have sexual experiences with (if you experience romantic feelings), while gender identity is your personal experience of gender. This means someone can be genderfluid and straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation that is congurent with their internal experiences.
Are you male or female?
Simple answer? Yes. Identifying as genderfluid means embracing being both male and female, either somewhere on a spectrum or separately at different times. There isn’t a right or wrong way to experience genderfluidity. It’s unique to each person.
What does Mx stand for?
When I began to embrace my identity as a genderfluid person, I was asked this quite frequently. Mx is the gender neutral equivalent to Mr., Ms. or Mrs. Unlike the gendered salutations, Mx leaves space for being male, female, both, neither or anything along the gender spectrum. This term is not exclusive to genderfluid individuals.
How is genderfluid different from nonbinary?
Nonbinary is considered an umbrella term for various nonconforming identities, including genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, and others. As an identity, nonbinary simply refers to someone who doesn’t identify with the previously used gender binary (male/female). It is possible for a genderfluid person to also identify as being nonbinary.
Do genderfluid individuals experience gender or body dysphoria?
Maybe. There isn’t a clear cut yes or no to this question. Some people may experience varying degrees of dysphoria, while others may not. People often have an image in their mind of what they “should” or want to look like, and when reality doesn’t match that image, dysphoria can occur. Stereotypes, societal or cultural expectations, peer or personal pressure, and hormones can all impact the presence or intensity of gender and/or body dysphoria.
What is it like being genderfluid?
Again, there’s no single answer to this question. It’s an incredibly personal experience. Personally, being genderfluid offers me a sense of freedom. I don’t have to fit in a box, meeting expectations or definitions created by other people in an effort to define who I am. It’s flexible. I can wake up each morning and express myself however feels accurate for me that day.
© iAmClinic - LGBTQ Therapy, LLC 2020