From Nonbinary Wiki
    Related identities Agender and Neutrois
    Under the umbrella term Transgender
    Frequency <0.1%

    Neuter is a long-established word for a sex or gender outside of the gender binary. Various dictionaries generally give it these two relevant definitions, among others:

    1. A gender neither masculine nor feminine. Genderless. Gender neutral. An androgynous person.

    2. Without sexual organs, or with incomplete sexual organs. In biology and zoology, this can mean animals that were artificially spayed, castrated, or otherwise sterilized, as well as animals who were normally born in that condition, such as worker bees. In botany, neuter can mean plants without pistils and stamens.[1][2][3]

    Although the word "neuter" has existed in English with these meanings for hundreds of years, surveys show that it hasn't been common for contemporary nonbinary people to call themselves neuter.[4] However, neuter was mentioned as one of many valid nonbinary identities in the 2013 text Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide.[5]

    The word in English usage dates back to the 14th century neutre, used in the grammatical sense. The English language borrowed this word from Latin neuter meaning "neither one nor the other" (ne- "not, no" + uter "either (of two)"). This Latin word is likely taken in turn from the old Greek word oudeteros.[6]

    Related terms[edit | edit source]

    • FTN. In some queer communities, this has meant female-to-neuter (or neutrois) transsexual (or transgender), as a counterpart to more widely-used terms, FTM (female-to-male, meaning a trans man, or someone on the trans-masculine spectrum) and MTF (male-to-female, meaning a trans woman, or someone on the trans-feminine spectrum).[7]
    • MTN. Male-to-neuter (or neutrois) transsexual (or transgender).[7]

    Notable neuter people[edit | edit source]

    Claude Cahun, a neuter artist and anti-fascist.

    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 "neuter" for themselves.

    • Claude Cahun (1894 - 1954) was a surrealist artist and a resistance worker against the Nazi occupation of France in WWII. In Cahun's autobiography, Disavowals, they explained, “Masculine? Feminine? It depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me.”[8]
    • Autistic activist and intersex person Jim Sinclair (1940 - ) has said they are "proudly neuter, both physically and socially."[9] In 1993 Sinclair wrote the essay, "Don't Mourn for Us", articulating an anti-cure perspective on autism.[10] The essay has been thought of as a touchstone for the fledgling autism-rights movement, and has been mentioned in The New York Times[11] and New York Magazine.[12]

    Neuter 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 "neuter," either in their canon, or by their creators.

    • In the book Surface Detail, the character Yime Nsokyi is "neuter-gendered" and has an intersex body by choice.
    • M.C.A. Hogarth's science-fiction series about the Jokka, an alien species that has three sexes, called male, female, and neuter. These stories focus on individuals who do not conform to their society's gender roles; some could be considered transgender, and at least one character could be considered to be trans neuter. However, the author often publicly voices her opposition to transgender rights in real life, saying she "Will never stop fighting this trans thing. Never.";[13] agreeing with anti-transgender author Abigail Shrier's opposition of the informed consent model of pediatric transgender health care;[14] saying she liked Debrah Soh's anti-transgender book;[15] siding with a student who expressed anti-transgender views, in reply to an anti-transgender Twitter account;[16] being a fan of an anti-trans podcaster;[17] asserting the anti-transgender claim that "cisgender is a slur";[18] and saying that transgender people should never transition, and should instead content themselves with "the flesh God gave" them.[19] This is an example of how authors who write representation of gender-variant characters can't be assumed to support the human rights of gender-variant people in real life and may even actively oppose it.
    • The Kyree, in Mercedes Lackey's World of Velgarth fantasy novel series, are an intelligent wolf-like people with three sexes: male, female, and neuter. Since neuter Kyree aren't obliged to take part in raising offspring, they're the ones who tend to go out into the world on adventures.
    • The protagonist in Kurt Vonneguts' novel Deadeye Dick, Rudy Waltz, explicitly identifies as "neuter" and reflects upon the word, its connotation and sexuality on several occassions.

    Please help expand this section.

    See also[edit | edit source]

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. "Neuter." Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Archived on 17 July 2023
    2. "Neuther." Archived on 17 July 2023
    3. "Neuter." The Free Dictionary. Archived on 17 July 2023
    4. Gender Census 2019 - the public spreadsheet. 30 March 2019 Archived on 17 July 2023
    5. Richards, Christina; Barker, Meg (2013). Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781446293133.
    6. "neuter (adj.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on 17 July 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
    7. 7.0 7.1 "LGBTQ terms." [1] Archived on 17 July 2023
    8. Cahun, C., Malherbe, S. (2008). Disavowals: Or, Cancelled Confessions. United States: MIT Press.
    9. Sinclair, Jim (1997). "Self-introduction to the Intersex Society of North America". Archived from the original on 7 February 2009.
    10. Sinclair, Jim (1993). "Don't mourn for us". Autreat. Archived from the original on 17 July 2023. Retrieved 2014-08-11. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
    11. Harmon, Amy (2004-12-20). "How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 17 July 2023. Retrieved 2007-11-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
    12. Solomon, Andrew (2008-05-25). "The Autism Rights Movement". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 July 2023. Retrieved 2008-06-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
    13. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. April 5, 2022. Archive:
    14. M.C.A. Hogarth. October 25, 2021. Tweet. Archive:
    15. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. May 11, 2022. Archive:
    16. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. May 17, 2022. Archive:
    17. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. July 15, 2022. Archive:
    18. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. April 29, 2022. Archive:
    19. M.C.A. Hogarth. Tweet. August 23, 2021. Archive: