The term gender fluid (sometimes written as genderfluid or gender-fluid) describes a person who does not have a fixed gender identity. In other words, that person does not feel that they identify completely as male, female, or another gender. Their gender shifts on a continuum or spectrum.
Some gender fluid people also identify as non-binary, meaning that they do not categorize themselves as male or female.
A gender fluid person might feel more feminine one day and more masculine the next. Or, the person may feel more masculine or feminine in some situations but not others. Further, they might feel both masculine and feminine at the same time.
For example, a gender fluid person might feel more masculine in social situations. They might dress, speak, and behave in ways that align with the way men dress, speak, and behave in their culture.
In contrast, the person might feel more feminine at work and adopt more feminine traits while at the office or interacting with colleagues.
Or, a person might express themselves with both male and female traits.
Gender fluidity – how a person identifies – does not affect sexual preferences or orientation. It also doesn’t mean a person is transgender or intends to transition from one gender to another. Instead, it means that a person feels comfortable as male, female, somewhere in between, or another gender.
Gender fluid people often have preferred names and preferred sets of pronouns, such as they/them/theirs (singular “they”) or ze/hir/hir. It is respectful to ask which names and pronouns a person uses.
“The difference between sexual orientation and gender identity”
(March 24, 2017)
“Gender – The Space Between”
“What it means to be gender-fluid”
(April 13, 2016)
“What does it actually mean to be gender fluid?”
(October 15, 2019)
“What is genderfluid?”
(Video. August 10, 2015)
National Center for Transgender Equality
“Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive”
(October 5, 2018)
National LGBT Health Education Center
“Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams”
(Last updated: March 2016)
LGBTQ+ Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee