Intergender

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Intergender is a gender identity under the nonbinary and transgender umbrella terms. Intergender people have a gender identity that is in the middle between the binary genders of female and male, and may be a mix of both. The word "intergender" has been independently coined by different people at different times, and the meaning has been the same, as above. At least one person claiming to be intergender and intersex independently has argued that "intergender" should only by used by people who are intersex, and that intergender is an identity only for intersex people.[1] However, the identity label had already been in use for at least sixteen years as something that was open to people of any birth sex.[2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

During the 1990s, usenet newsgroups were informal public discussion groups on the Internet that were oriented around topics of interest, such as hobbies, fandoms, and LGBT issues. Starting sometime before 1998, people who identified as intergender created a discussion group in the alt.support.intergendered newsgroup, which was created by an intergender and non-intersex person named Donna Lynn Matthews.[3] The charter (last updated in 1998) for that newsgroup explains its purpose, and what intergendered means:

"The intent of this newsgroup is to provide a supportive, informative and friendly environment for intergendered individuals. Intergendered individuals do not gender themselves as 'men' or 'women', but somewhere inbetween, as a mix of both masculine and feminine qualities. Others gender themselves as neither 'men' nor 'women' (agendered or non-gendered), thus placing themselves 'outside' of the gender 'spectrum' completely. Given this, intergendered individuals tend to present (to varing degrees) in a non-descript or ambiguous manner by means of androgyny, partial crossderssing [sic], genderbending, and part-time cross-gender living, to name a few. Intergendered should not be confused with intersexed, as the two are quite different. It is not the intent of this to be an intersexed support forum. This newsgroup is open to anyone (intersexed individuals included), provided that posted articles are on topic and of relevance to intergendered individuals."[4]

From the above description, at the time, "intergender" was posed as an umbrella term in the 1990s, similar to how "nonbinary" came to be widely known as an umbrella term in the 2010s. Intergender included a variety of gender identities (even genderlessness) and gender expressions that didn't fit into the binary. It was an identity label that any person can use, even if they are not intersex.[2]

Some participants of that newsgroup used gender-neutral pronouns.[5] There were enough people who identified as intergender that there was an intergender webring. A webring was something that any site with something in common with its theme could choose to join, so users could browse a list of sites on the same subject matter. Webrings were important for finding sites about any particular kind of content before the advent of large search engines like Google. This means that on the intergender webring, there was a list of personal websites by many different intergender people, similar to blogs.[6]

In 1998, Matthews described intergender as "a gendered state between the polar endpoints of man and woman. […] I'm both and neither at the same time. […] As we do not gender ourselves along the either/or lines of the binary gender system, we often choose not to present along these lines. […] We are not really interested in passing as women or men. We want nothing more than to be able to simply be who we are without having choose between two extremes."[2]

In 2000, a non-intersex and intergender person named Deird Duncan coined the word "interdressing," meaning intergender gender expression in clothing, possibly without any intention to be seen as any particular gender.[7]

In 2014, one intersex intergender person named Aeshling (Tumblr usernames quietlyloud-intersex, indonintersex) independently coined the word "intergender," with the rule that this word is for the use of intersex people only. Otherwise, the word's meaning is the same as it had been when it had been coined and used by non-intersex transgender people. Aeshling's definition of it is "A gender that is between and among male and female."[1] Aeshling's post didn't show awareness that the word had already been in use for people of any birth sex for at least sixteen years.

Some non-intersex people interested in calling themselves "intergender" may choose to defer to intersex people by using a different label with a similar meaning instead, such as bigender or androgyne, which are open to people of any birth sex. On the other hand, non-intersex people may be no less entitled to calling themselves intergender, because the label "intergender" was open to people of any birth sex for many years longer. There is also the matter that some nonbinary people who were born non-intersex describe their transition as the intention to make their body more intersex, and call themselves female-to-intersex or male-to-intersex transsexuals, which goes back to at least 1996.[8] Some intersex people have argued that it is appropriative for non-intersex people to say that they want to become intersex or intersex-like, given that intersex people face unique types of social oppression.[citation needed] Either way, the old definition and Aeshling's definition agree that "intergender" means a gender identity between female and male, one which may be a mix of both.

Gender expression[edit | edit source]

Some intergender people see it as solely a matter of gender identity, and therefore requires no particular kind of gender expression. They may even be satisfied with an appearance that fits within the gender binary, even though their gender identity does not. Other intergender people seek the aesthetic of androgyny. They may express their intergender identity through their personality or activities such as crossdressing or "interdressing" (see above), though this doesn't necessarily have the intention of being seen as any particular gender. Some intergender people have or wish to transition to a body that has traits 'in between' female and male, or which is more like an intersex body. There are dyadic people who call themselves female-to-intersex or male-to-intersex transsexuals.[8]

Notable intergender people[edit | edit source]

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 "intergender" for themselves.

Please help expand this section.

Intergender characters in fiction[edit | edit source]

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 word "intergender," either in their canon, or by their creators.

Please help expand this section.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Aeshling. "Intergender." Mogai-Archive. 2014. http://mogai-archive.tumblr.com/post/92026280519/intergender
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Donna Lynn Matthews, “What is intergendered?” 1998-10. http://cydathria.com/ms_donna/intergen.html
  3. 3.0 3.1 Donna Lynn Matthews, “Being genderqueer – What it means for me.” 2006-10. http://cydathria.com/ms_donna/genderqueer.html
  4. http://cydathria.com/ms_donna/asig_charter.html
  5. "GNP FAQ." [1]
  6. "Welcome to the Intergendered Webring." Donna's Hideout. c. 1998. http://donnas-hideout.org/igring.html
  7. Deird Duncan, “Interdressing.” 2000-04-10. http://cydathria.com/ms_donna/interdressing.html
  8. 8.0 8.1 Raphael Carter, "Angel's Dictionary." 1996-07-14. [2]

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