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What does it mean?

“A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.”

Oxford Dictionaries

“an umbrella term used to describe gender identities other than man and woman – for example, those who are both man and woman, or neither man nor woman, or moving between genders”


Terms with similar meanings are nonbinary and enby.


The term queer is often used as a slur - a word used to attack and insult people. As a result, people may find the word - or words like “genderqueer” that contain it - to be upsetting.

Through the process of reappropriation some people now use the word positively. Whether to use reclaimed slurs is a personal choice - but if you do use them, be aware that they may offend or upset some people.

Umbrella term

"Genderqueer" is a word that covers a large number of different people - it’s an umbrella term.

Words like this can:

  • help if you’re not sure what specific term describes you
  • help if how you relate to gender is fluid and changes over time
  • be more likely to be understood by the general public
  • be useful for ensuring that a wide range of different people can access resources and support

However, words like this can also:

  • hide how much people using the term actually differ
  • hide how much more discrimination some people using the term receive
  • include people in a term that they don’t like without asking them
  • include people in a term that they don't feel actually describes them

Think carefully before using this word to describe someone or a group of people - they may not wish to be described that way.

Errors and omissions

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