X-gender (Xジェンダー x-jendā, or エックスジェンダー ekkusu-jendā) is a common transgender identity that isn't female or male. The word X-gender is used in Japan in the same way that genderqueer and nonbinary are used in English. According to a 2019 online survey conducted by the Japan LGBT Research Institute, 8,700 out of of 348,000 respondents aged 20 to 69 identified themselves as X-gender.
The "X" in X-gender has many possible origins. It is sometimes incorrectly interpreted as an abbreviation of "cross", as in "cross-gender".
In mathematics, an X represents an unknown variable.
In some countries, a similar term “X gender” is used in official paperwork to represent a gender other than man or woman.
The term "X-gender" began to be used in the queer communities of Kansai, in Osaka and Kyoto, during the latter half of the 1990s, when it appeared in writings published by queer organizations in those regions. Later Chinese queer community borrowed the terms "FtX" and "MtX".
There is a widespread practice of trans women and people on the trans-feminine spectrum abbreviating their transition direction, "male-to-female", as "MtF". Meanwhile, trans men and people on the trans-masculine spectrum abbreviating "female-to-male" as "FtM". Following this, trans people who don't identify as male or female substitute an X for their transition direction. X-gender and other nonbinary people have described their transition direction as "male-to-X" as "MtX", and "female-to-X". The term "XtX" is also used by people who were born with an intersex condition and have a gender identity that is neither male nor female.
There are several categories of gender in X-gender. Chiefly, there are thought to be four: neutral (中性), which is between male and female; bigender (両性), which is somewhat both; genderfluid (不定性), which changes between genders in different situations; and agender (無性), which have no gender of their own. There is no need to be bound by these four categories.
In addition to the above, it is thought that there are various gender identities. In addition, male gender identity is dominant in neutral or bigender X-gender as male X-gender, whereas when female gender identity is dominant, it is sometimes referred to as female X-gender. Furthermore, there can be differences in the proportion of the male and female they feel, and since there are also X-gender and others with neutral or bigender identities other than the concept of men and women, even among those belonging to either one, it is said that there are no two people with the same gender identity in X gender.
X-gender is a gender identity, not a romantic or sexual orientation. X-gender people may feel attraction to men, women, both, and/or other X-gender people, or they may be asexual (feeling no sexual attraction to anybody).
Sonja Dale, a researcher of gender issues at Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University, says that X-gender people often suffer from discrimination, abuse, and pressure to conform to gender norms. This makes them "almost twice as likely to suffer from depression or anxiety disorders as those who identify as male or female," according to a survey conducted by Tokyo's International Christian University.
- MtXとFtX・Xジェンダー・GDのための会員制サークル 「label X(ラベル・エックス)」 (Membership circle for MtX, FtX, and X-gender)
Notable X-gender peopleEdit
See main article: Notable nonbinary people
There are many more notable people who have a gender identity outside of the binary. The following are only some of those notable people who specifically use the word "x-gender" for themselves.
- M A Joy is a manga artist and illustrator working in Tokyo. They made this comic about how they realized they were x-gender.
- Yuhki Kamatani (鎌谷 悠希) (b. 1983) is a Japanese manga artist and illustrator, best known for their first serialized series Nabari no Ou, published by Square Enix. Having come out in a 2012 tweet, Kamatani identifies as X-gender and asexual. In their Twitter profile, Kamatani notes their gender as "toX"—following the tradition of transgender individuals identifying as FTM or MTF—which conceals their assigned at birth gender.
- Morita Shinichi is one of the founding members of an LGBT rights group in the 1990s called G-Front. Morita describes themself as jenda-furi (genderfree), x-gender, and "MTFTX gay." Morita said, "there exists no word for transsexual or transgendered individuals who do not clearly aim to be distinctly male or female. As such, I just use the term 'x-jendā' to talk about my way of being."
- Yuu Watase (渡瀬 悠宇) (b. 1970) is a Japanese shōjo manga artist, known for creating comics such as Fushigi Yūgi. Watase received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōjo for Ceres, Celestial Legend in 1997. In May 2019, Watase came out as x-gender.
X-gender characters in fictionEdit
See main article: Nonbinary gender in fiction
There are many more nonbinary characters in fiction who have a gender identity outside of the binary. The following are only some of those characters who are specifically called by the words "x-gender," either in their canon, or by their creators.
Yuta "Yū" Asuka (飛鳥 悠, Asuka Yūta) from the Tokyo Broadcasting System TV anime series Stars Align had a short arc that touched on how they were questioning their gender identity. During this they tell Maki that they want to be referred to with gender neutral language and that they think they are X-gender but don't want to be categorized.
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- Factor, R., & Rothblum, E. (2008). Exploring gender identity and community among three groups of transgender individuals in the United States: MTFs, FTMs, and genderqueers. Health Sociology Review, 17(3), pp.235-253.
- HARIMA Katsuki (針間 克己) (2011). Actual psychiatry of medical examination of gender identity in mental clinic (メンタルクリニックにおける性同一性障害診療の実際 精神医学) 53(8), pp.749-753
- ISHIDA Hitoshi (石田 仁) (2008). Ishida Hitoshi (ed) Gender identity disorder - gender / medical treatment / special law Ochanomizu Shobo (石田 仁(編) 性同一性障害―ジェンダー・医療・特例法 御茶の水書房)
- Kuper, L. E., Nussbaum, R. & Mustanski, B. (2012). Exploring the Diversity of Gender and Sexual Orientation Identities in an Online Sample of Transgender Individuals. Journal of sex research49(2-3), pp.244-254.
- MATSUSHIMA Yoshie (松嶋 淑恵) "Survey on the actual situation of people with gender disparity: economic situation, human relations, psychological problems" Human Science Research Vol. 34 (「性別違和をもつ人々の実態調査 : 経済状況、人間関係、精神的問題について」人間科学研究 34巻), P.185-208 (2013-03) Bunkyo University Human Sciences Division (文教大学人間科学部)
- OTAGURO Hana (大田黒 花) (2009). A Study on "X Gender" Shizuoka University Informatics Department Siebara Megumi Laboratory (「X ジェンダー」についての一考察 静岡大学情報学部 笹原恵研究室)
- SASAKI Shoko (佐々木 掌子) (2010). 規定されないものとしてのジェンダー・アイデンティティ－MTXとFTXの質的分類－ GID（性同一性障害）学会雑誌, 3(1), pp.44-45.
- TANAKA Rei (田中 玲) (2006). Transgender · Feminism Impact Publications (トランスジェンダー・フェミニズム インパクト出版会)
- TOGUCHI Takuya (戸口 太功耶) (2012). Phenomenological psychology of X gender - the meaning of identity that is not "male / female" - Naruto University of Education Graduate School of Education Graduate School of Education - master thesis (Xジェンダーの現象学的心理学―「男／女」いずれかではないアイデンティティを名乗ることの意味― 鳴門教育大学大学院学校教育研究科修士論文)
- YOSHINAGA Michiko (吉永 みち子) (2000). Gender identity disorder - Morning Shueisha of sex change (性同一性障害－性転換の朝 集英社)
- Label X ed., (Label X編)、"What is X gender?" - Diversity of sex in Japan. (『Ｘジェンダーって何？-日本における多様な性のあり方-』) "Green Wind Publication (緑風出版) October 20, 2016. ISBN 978-4-8461-1615-6
- Selected links on nonbinary gender in Japan: X-gender
- Wikipedia on X-gender (in Japanese)
- NPO My Faith My Style »Vol.41: X Gender / Yuri Sato (in Japanese)
- あの女（ひと）の器―セクシャリティとか、GID（性同一性障害）とか (a blog in Japanese)
- X-gender Wiki (a wiki all about x-gender, in Japanese)
- https://ask-pride-color-schemes.tumblr.com/post/154655970879/image-white-background-with-a-large-x-over-it, 19 December 2016
- Marilyn Roxie. "Selected links on nonbinary gender in Japan." March 28, 2013. http://genderqueerid.com/post/46526429887/selected-links-on-non-binary-gender-in-japan
- "Most people in Japan know LGBT but understanding limited." Kyodo News. December 11, 2019. Accessed July 5, 2020. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/12/bf50b5f548d5-most-people-in-japan-know-lgbt-but-understanding-limited.html
- S.P.F. Dale. "An Introduction to X-Jendā: Examining a New Gender Identity in Japan." Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific Issue 31, December 2012. http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue31/dale.htm
- Gender identity as unspecified - Qualitative classification of MTX and FTX - Journal of the GID (Gender Equality Disorder) Society, 3 (1), pp. 44 - 45. (佐々木掌子 (2010). 規定されないものとしてのジェンダー・アイデンティティ－MTXとFTXの質的分類－ GID（性同一性障害）学会雑誌, 3(1), pp.44-45.)
- Tokoi Miyuki and Mochizuki Mami. "Pushing for 'X-gender' recognition." June 11, 2019. Accessed October 5, 2020. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/576/
- https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4757515626 リベラメンテ―鎌谷悠希短編集
- @yuhkikamatani (May 7, 2012). "隠すことでもわざわざ言うことでもカテゴライズするようなことでもないと分かっているけど、無難に生きようと、へらへら誤魔化している自分に対して無性に腹立たしく思う時があります。誤魔化したくない。私はXジェンダーでアセクシャルなセクシュアルマイノリティです。そんな程度の人間です。" – via Twitter.
- "鎌谷悠希 (@yuhkikamatani) | Twitter". March 8, 2016. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- https://twitter.com/wataseyuu_/status/1130461270358908928 ブログでもここでも呟いたけど、再度。 漫画にも影響してると思うから。 私はXジェンダーと医師に診断されてて、中身は、男にも女にも寄れるし男でも女でもない。 見た目はちゃんと(20代後半から社会に合わせて)どうせやるならやるでメイクもオシャレもする、それだけ。 女性の身体は否定しないが→ I blogged here and again, but again. I think it also affects manga. I have been diagnosed by X-gender and a doctor, and the contents are neither men nor women, nor men or women. It looks just fine (according to society from the late 20s), and if you do it, you can make and be fashionable. I do not deny the female body カンガタリ:リマスター｣⑪発売中 渡瀬悠宇:新刊｢アラタ date 2019-05-20 @wataseyuu_ access-date=2019-08-16