Genderqueer, along with the somewhat newer and less politicized term non-binary, are umbrella terms intended to encompass individuals who feel that terms like man and woman or male and female are insufficient to describe the way they feel about their gender and/or the way they outwardly present it. The term genderqueer was originally coined in the 1990s to describe those who “queered” gender by defying oppressive gender norms in the course of their binary-defying activism. Members of the genderqueer community differentiate themselves from people who are transgender (itself originally intended as an umbrella term), because that word has come to refer primarily to people who identify with the binary gender different from the one they were assigned in infancy.

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Some genderqueer individuals undergo surgery or take synthetic hormones, while others do not. Some genderqueer people continue to identify partially with one gender, others do not. What they share is a deep, persistent unease with being associated only with the binary gender assigned to them from infancy—apart from that, their expressions, experiences, and preferences vary greatly from individual to individual.

As with all labels, nothing is necessarily straight forward and there is plenty of middle-ground. One person might identify as ‘transgender’ but not as ’transsexual’; another as cross-dresser and not transvestite. There are also people who don’t identify as any gender. They are genderqueer and don’t feel part of the society norm of binary gender (male or female) and the stereotypes associated with each gender.

Dave Wells likes to think of genderqueer as “gender free”; free of all gender labels and gender stereotypes, including clothes, roles and any society gender conformity. Many people who are questioning their gender identity are comfortable with who they are. It can be expressing who you are to others that can cause difficulty for the genderqueer person.

Regardless of any attached pre-requisites to conform to a label, Dave Wells will support you with discovering and adapting to your own personal identity free of any pressures or expectations.