Agender is complete genderlessness, or the lack of gender. It is a non-binary identity in which one is not male, female, or any other gender. They may identify as most strongly as just a person, rather then as any given gender.
While a complete lack of gender is the most common definition of agender, people may call themselves agender for other reason, such as:
- Their gender is neutral or neutrois.
- Their gender is unknown or undefinable.
- Their gender does not align with any binary or non-binary categories.
- They are removed from the concept of gender.
- There are no words to fit their gender experience.
- They do not care about gender, either an internal identity, as an external label, or both.
Agender people may also identify as non-binary, genderqueer, or transgender, though some choose to avoid these terms, as they can imply that they identify as a gender, when they in fact do not. As it is a lack of gender, some feel that it should not be labeled with the term "gender" at all.
Agender vs Gender Neutral
There is little agreement about the difference between terms such as agender, gender neutral, and neutrois. Some people use these terms interchangeably, but for others, there is a difference between these terms. It is often said that agender is the experience of having no gender at all, whereas gender neutral or neutrois is the experience of having a gender identity, but that gender identity is not masculine or feminine, but neutral.
Agender vs Gendervoid
Gendervoid, also called voidgender, is similar to agender, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, while they do overlap, they are not always the same. Agender is generally recognized as a broader term. While an agender person may feel as though they never had a gender in the first place, a gendervoid person may feel like there is an empty place where a gender would or should be.
The first recorded use of the word agender on the Internet appears to come from a post on the site UseNet, on July 28, 2000. It was used in a discussion thread titled "alt.messianic". The user Miriam Wolfe wrote "All I understand is that G-d is amorphous, agender, etc. so "image" can't be a physical or gender or sexual thing." There were a few other instances of the word being used around the same time, but these also were either about God or were talking about people presenting in a gender-neutral manner (not as specific gender identity).
The first instance where the word was used about people as a specific identity seems to also come for UseNet, in a thread titled "alt.politics.democrats". The user man_in_black529 wrote "But despite this near-universality of gender, cultures can have transgender, agender, and hypergender individuals."
In both these cases the word agender was not defined; presumably, the definition was already known at the time. The word agender probably existed before these posts, and possibly had a similar meaning to what it does now. However, earlier uses of the word are not recorded.
Flags and Symbols
The original agender flag was designed by the Tumblr user Transrants in 2014. The color meanings are as follows: Black represents an absence of gender, and grey represents partial gender. Green represents the non-binary nature of this gender because green is the inverse of lavender (a mixture of pink and blue, representing a mix of female and male).
Variations on the agender flag usually include green and black.
The four-stripe agender flag is an homage to the original, widely-used seven-stripe agender flag created by Salem in 2014. They are similar in color scheme (black, gray, white, green). However, the four-stripe agender flag has a deliberately higher-contrast design with fewer stripes and emphasizes the community and inclusion of agender people who may also be lesbian, gay, bisexual, non-binary, trans, asexual, etc. by representing all agenderness in one stripe. No matter what else they are, all agender people are equally agender. The four-stripe agender flag also has the advantage of being shrinkable down to four pixels tall.
One interpretation of the colors of the four-stripe agender flag, from top to bottom, is: safety, unity, and the night sky (black), cement and ash (gray), bones (white), and the feeling of living and being agender (pure green).
Several agender symbols exist. The most common is a circle (in reference to the male and female symbols and many other gender symbols), with a line through it, either horizontally or diagonally (∅), likely representing gender being crossed out and absent. Another variant includes a line without prongs, similar to the neutrois symbol. Another, less common agender symbol is a plain circle (⚪), though this symbol is also sometimes used to represent asexuality.