It's Agender Pride Day

Tana H. They/Them/Theirs. Photo provided.

Agender, nonbinary, gender-neutral: Is there a difference? 

by Jordan Redman
Staff Writer

Tana H. came out as agender when they started college. “I began attending the LGBTQIA+ club on my college campus. It was nice to have a word for what I was feeling, or rather, a lack of feeling.”

They sometimes struggle with defining what it means to be agender, “It’s really hard to describe. It’s more of a lack of gender rather than identifying with anything at all, to be honest. I’m just me, I suppose.”

Agender is a term which is translated as ‘without gender.’ People who identify as agender may describe themselves as one or more of the following:

  • Genderless or lacking gender.
  • Having an unknown or undefinable gender; not aligning with any gender. 
  • Not knowing or not caring about gender, as an internal identity, and as an external label.
  • Deciding not to label their gender.

There are looming misconceptions surrounding agender people. Agender people are not to be confused with asexual people.

Tana described a common misconception they run into, “People think we’re better than them. Agender people aren’t all-knowing, or evolved to have a higher understanding of gender, and that we are aiming to destroy the notion of gender.

“Being agender doesn’t invalidate anyone else’s gender, especially when we’re all just trying to exist and live like everyone else.”

Gender doesn’t define Tana the way it used to, “I’m still just me, though I am a bit more aware of gender issues and how it might affect various friends and how important their gender identity is to them, even if I don’t understand it all the way.”

Many agender people also identify as genderqueer, non binary and/or transgender. However, some agender people prefer to avoid these terms.

Tana describes the difference between agender and gender neutral, “It’s a bit tricky! It all depends on definitions and how you view them, or what you want to accept.

“I see agender as a lack of gender, while gender-neutral can be used as an umbrella term and/or interchangeable, but gender-neutral could also just not be used to describe people at all. Gender-neutral are often aimed at describing clothes, names, etc.”

Tana wishes there was a better understanding of agender people in the LGBT+ community.

“I think a lack of understanding of what agender has led to many people have misconceptions about us or have them make assumptions that could potentially be harmful. While I do feel alienated at times from the LGBT+ community, I don’t think it’s because I’m agender and more or less because I’m a person of color. But that’s a whole other can of worms.”

Tana concluded, “I’m an agender, asexual and aromantic. I like to call myself a triple A battery.”

It is important to recognize agender people can be of any sexuality and should not be confused with being asexual.

Copyright The Gayly – May 19, 2018 @ 1 p.m. CDT.