What can I do to help you?
The first time the phrase “genderfluid” entered our collective consciousness was when our friend, friend and colleague Lisa Hanauer coined a term back in 2007.
“Genderfluid” was the name of one of her books, which introduced a reader to a young woman who wasn’t female, but who was, in fact, neither male nor female.
That term entered the popular lexicon with a sense of curiosity, even if it was a tongue-in-cheek description of someone that people really didn’t know that well.
Since then, we hear the word “genderfluid” used a lot more frequently. We say it for all kinds of reasons we’ll get into soon, but now, it’s also about something a little simpler.
Here’s why we use it, and why it matters.
1. People use it when their pronouns are different from their birth gender
A lot of us who transition know we were assigned female at birth, but we may not feel that way. Sometimes, the words “sir” and “ma’am” may trigger some reactions.
The most common reaction to the word “genderfluid” is confusion at what “gender” actually means. I use “gender” to describe someone at our office, but it’s also a generic term that applies universally.
“Genderfluid” was designed to help people know which of their pronouns they had given birth to by identifying them as they are now, without giving them the option of being someone they are not. So for example, I’ve been known as “Jack” since I was born as a girl, but no one thinks they should say that I don’t “really need” to be “Jack.” It could be used like this in a formal office setting or at a meeting. Instead of using “Jack” as a generic pronoun, you’re saying that Jack isn’t really male or female, but rather that when they get older or their gender changes, they’ll recognize it as they’re born and not “passing” as the genders they were assigned.
In this case, genderfluid isn’t about sex, it’s about being able to live your life accurately according to one of your gender’s identities, for free.
2. It’s not about trying to conform at work
Genderfluid is a common word because gender changes for everyone. Genderfluids might feel like
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