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Xenogender

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Xenogender isn't defined in relation to "female" or "male" (the binary genders), but by other kinds of ideas that most people don't think of as having to do with gender. When people talk about nonbinary gender, they often find that there aren't any words for their experiences. This is called an explanatory gap. In order to fill an explanatory gap, this wiki and nonbinary.org (closed now) takes up "xenogender" as an umbrella term for an entire category of nonbinary genders that are defined by characteristics with no relation whatsoever to "female" or "male."

Because a gender binary society doesn't give much in the way of roles or descriptions for nonbinary genders, some transgender and gender nonconforming people address the challenge of describing their unusual gender identities by creative methods, referring to concepts that aren't usually seen as related to gender. This has been observed in very young nonbinary people:

"Not all children fit neatly into a male or female gender identity, trans or otherwise. For some children, the sense of being 'both' or 'neither' best describes their reality. [...] Children who see themselves as 'neither' will often speak of how regardless of whether they're with a group of boys or girls, they feel like they don’t fit. This is not necessarily a sad feeling. They just see the kids around them and know that they are not 'that.' Kids in this category often appear androgynous, and will frequently answer the question 'are you a boy or a girl' by saying their name ('I'm Devon') or by identifying themselves as animals. When asked to draw self portraits, they will portray themselves as rainbows, or unicorns, or another symbol of their choosing."

- "Frequently Asked Questions," GenderSpectrum.org [1]

These creative methods of describing nonbinary genders come naturally to many nonbinary people. As such, these are an emerging part of nonbinary culture, worthy of exploration and examination. Some common themes of these concepts:

Nouns and archetypes: Some nonbinary people find it easier to perceive or describe their inner sense of their gender identity by evoking familiar archetypes. Instead of giving references to how their gender relates to maleness and femaleness, they say their gender is-- or is like-- a kind of animal, an imaginary being, a part of nature, an abstract concept, or a symbol. Some nonbinary people describing their gender this way do so because they feel a sense of gender euphoria or some other connection when thinking about an object. Some people have made names for some of these kinds of noungenders, such as arithmogender, faunagender, and gendersea (see below).

Synaesthetic perceptions: Synaesthesia is an uncommon condition in which people have their senses linked together, so that, say, sounds and words bring up specific colors in their minds. Some nonbinary people find it feels more natural to perceive or describe their inner sense of their gender identity in terms of synaesthesia-like perceptions. For example, texture, size, shape, time, light, sound, or other sensory characteristics that most people don't attribute to gender at all. Some people have made names for some of these kinds of genders, such as archaigender, cosmicgender, and frostgender (see below).

Neurodiversity: Some nonbinary people have mental variations (mental illnesses, neurological conditions, or neurodivergence). Some who have mental variations see these as an influence on-- or an inseparable part of-- their gender identity. These are called neurogenders, and most of them are not described on this page, but on the neurogender page.

example of Xenogenders

Caminus gender

A gender where one feels a strong warmth and a strong connection to multiple genders (at least two) or none at all and a strong identification with a feeling of warmth. The word caminus is Latin for oven, witch metaphorically represents the feeling of warmth they feel inside.

References

  1. "Frequently Asked Questions." Gender Spectrum. Retrieved 2014-04-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20140408123152/https://www.genderspectrum.org/child-family/faq

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