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What does being gender fluid mean?

"Sometimes I feel completely female, sometimes more male, sometimes in between, sometimes agenre": at 16, Lo 'says "gender fluid". Like iel *, a growing part of the young generation is not recognized in the gender binarity of our society. Explanations.

Some people do not recognize themselves in the two genres that divide our society. According to an OpinionWay # MOIJEUNE ** poll conducted by 20 minutes, 13% of young people between 18 and 30 do not consider themselves a man or a woman. To define themselves, it is the non-binary category which suits 36% of them, while others opt for “gender fluid” (11%), or do not feel that they belong to any of the gender categories (8 %). "Gender fluid", non-binary … Are you lost with these terms? We take stock.

Gender fluid: a changing identity

Among all these terms that shake up gender norms, the term "gender fluid" is frequently used. This genre, which can be translated into French as "genre fluid" is experienced in movement and fluidity. The people "Gender fluids" can sometimes feel male, sometimes female, sometimes other. This is how Lo 'is defined, who took advantage of Pride to come out as a gender fluid. Contacted via Twitter, iel explains: “When you are genderfluid, let's say that you switch. Sometimes we feel "female" then another day we feel "male". I'll take my example, but I personally tend to feel kind, genderless (non-binarity). But sometimes I feel completely female, however it is rarer than I feel male. Sometimes there are also in between. Feel non-binary, but leaning towards the woman. It may seem very complicated, but we must not forget that gender is social, that it was completely built by our current society. ” She continues: "Now that I have become aware of my identity and that I have come out, I feel better about myself, frankly, people are interested and it's very fun! "

This identity includes any gender identity, so you can go from man to woman, but also from woman to androgynous, man to woman, to be in between, etc. The fluid genre is described as fluctuating and flexible.

Gender fluid, non-binary, what differences?

Non-binarity is actually an umbrella term that includes, among other things, people who identify as both male and female, or with neither. A non-binary person is a person who does not recognize himself within the established frameworks of gender binarity (man or woman). Gender fluids individuals, as for them, recognize the variable character of their gender identity – this can differ according to space, time, feelings.

Being gender fluid is therefore different from non-binarity, because in this second case, we are neither male nor female, whereas in a fluid genre, we oscillate between the two. But the border between these two terms remains fine. Some also believe that gender fluid is a subcategory of non-binarity. However, these gender issues have nothing to do with sexual orientation, and therefore with being gay, lesbian, bi or pansexual.

Gender fluid: gender names and pronouns

Ignoring gender requires some linguistic innovations. Gender fluid people often choose a unisex first name. Lo 'chose a middle name, Logan, but also wants to keep her birth name, Angèle. He specifies " My names are Angèle, and Logan. Thanks to this new name, I can finally move forward, a new self, a new start. ” Moreover, if we use "iel" (the contraction of "he" and "she") since the beginning of this article, it is because individuals whose gender fluctuates appreciate the use of a neutral pronoun. In the United States, the " they »Singular in English. But since the French language does not offer the same facilities, neologisms have been created. The pronouns "elle" and "lui" are replaced by "ellui".

On the social media side too, things are moving. In the United States, it is now possible to choose "man" or "woman" but also "agenre" or even "gender variant" (synonymous with fluid gender) when registering on Facebook. In France, just click on "personalized" and enter its genre in a free field. According to the YouGov poll for 20 minutes, 36% of French people even hope to see a "neutral sex" appear in administrative papers, as has been the case in New York since 2017.

The role of pop culture

Apart from fashion, which has largely adopted the “gender fluid” movement, pop culture plays an important role. Today, many stars publicly assume their gender fluidity. Actress and model Ruby, who plays in the series Orange is the Black, told the magazine She : “Gender fluidity is not really about feeling at one end or the other of the spectrum. I don't identify with any genre. I'm not a man, I don't really feel like a woman, even if I was born that way. So I'm somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like bringing the best of both sexes together ”. In his own short film Break Free, Ruby Rose puts elsewhere on stage her personality in all its complexity, going from a femme fatale look to that of a “tomboy”.

In France, there is also the singer Christine and the Queens who, in 2018, chose to rename herself Chris. Agathe Rousselle, a “no gender” artist, declared 20 minutes, that she had chosen to "Not to make a choice according to its gender" : "It depends on how I feel in the morning, one day I want to jog, another one in heels".

In 2018, France Télévisions offered on its web platform the documentary series of Camille Ducellier, entitled Gender Derby. You could follow Jasmin’s interrogations, which identifies as trans and gender fluid, at the start of its transition journey. The channel also imagined an educational supplement on Instagram with "Genre, le genre" which explained to the general public terms related to gender issues.

* Neutral pronoun (the contraction of "he" and "she")

** OpinionWay study for 20 Minutes carried out online from January 31 to February 1, 2018 with a representative sample of 820 young people aged 18 to 30.

Video by Clemence chevallet