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Where does gender-fluid come from?

Gender fluid is a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as malefemaleneutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances. Gender fluid people may also identify as multigendernon-binary and/or transgender. Genderfluid people may feel more comfortable using gender neutral pronouns and have a androgynous gender expression.

Gender fluid people who feel that the strength of their gender(s) change(s) over time, or that they are sometimes agenderdemigender, and a full gender may identify as genderflux.

The term first appeared as gender-fluid in the 1980s, coming into use alongside somewhat adjacent terms: transgender evidenced in the 1970s, and genderqueer in the 1990s.

The term gender-fluid spread with the understanding that gender was not binary (only and always male or female) and not necessarily tied to physical sex characteristics. Philosopher Judith Butler helped advance this thinking and is often credited with popularizing the idea in 1980-90s that gender is socially constructed. Writers like Sandy Stone were also influential. In 1987, she penned The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto, an essay discussing trans identity and the need for an assertion of such identities in a cisgender-centric world.

The late 2000s and the 2010s were when the term truly began to be noticed, venturing somewhat out of online forums, especially in academic literature. This was also the time when millennials, of whom 12% identify as non-cisgender, were beginning to come of age. By 2011, gender-fluid had 37,000 hits on Google. In 2018, this increased to a staggering 2.3 million.

Gender Fluid Flag
Gender Fluid Flag

Thanks to friends, members of the community, and celebrities like Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus, Jonathan Van Ness, Nico Tortorella, Ruby Rose, Billie Dee Williams’ accidental coming out, and the reveal of RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Pandora Boxx, Adore Delano, Violet Chachki, Jinxx Monsoon, Miss Fame, and Laganja Estranga coming out as gender fluid over the years, the term has become more wide spread and more people are bracing their gender fluid identity.


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