“Agender” is a term that refers to people who don’t identify as any gender in particular.
Agender is defined as not having a gender. Some agender people describe it as having a “lack of gender,” while others describe themselves as being gender neutral.
People often use the following words to mean more or less the same thing:
Agender people fall under the “nonbinary” umbrella and the “transgender” umbrella.
According to an article in them., the first documented use of the word “agender” was on an internet forum called UseNet, back in the year 2000.
In a chat room, one user posted: “God is amorphous, agender, […] so image can’t be a physical or gender or sexual thing.”
Being agender is similar to being gendervoid. Both are characterized by a lack of gender.
However, according to LGBTA Wiki, being gendervoid is slightly different than being agender because “a gendervoid person may feel like there is an empty place where a gender would/should be but simply isn’t or is unable to experience gender.”
Over the past two decades, the term has become more popular, with many people identifying as agender.
Being gender nonconforming isn’t the same thing as being agender, although the terms can overlap.
A gender nonconforming person simply doesn’t conform to the gender norms expected of them. Some gender nonconforming people are agender, but many are not.
Asexual means that you experience little or no sexual attraction to other people.
Agender means that you don’t have a gender.
The “a-” at the beginning confuses many people, but the terms mean two different things. Some agender people are asexual, but not every agender person is.
Being agender means different things to different people.
Some agender people might transition medically by undergoing gender confirmation surgery or taking hormones if they feel that it will be best for them.
However, many agender people don’t transition medically — it’s a personal choice.
Similarly, some agender people change their name, pronouns, or gender expression (which is, the clothing they wear, how they style themselves, etc.).
However, this is totally up to them, and there’s no “right” way to be agender.
Someone’s gender identity doesn’t necessarily determine what pronouns they use. For example, a nonbinary person may use he/him/his pronouns.
Someone who’s agender might use they/them/their pronouns, but they could also use she/her/hers or he/him/his pronouns. They could even use a mix of pronouns or neopronouns.
The best way to find out someone’s pronouns is to politely ask.
The word “nonbinary” is an umbrella term that refers to a range of genders that don’t fall exclusively into the “male” or “female” category.
Although agender can fall under the nonbinary umbrella, not all nonbinary people are agender — some nonbinary people may identify as demiboys, demigirls, bigender, polygender, or otherwise.
In general, genderqueer people don’t identify exclusively as male or female. The word “genderqueer” means that their gender identity doesn’t conform to the mainstream.
Being gender-fluid means that your gender shifts and changes over time. While someone can be agender and genderfluid, they’re not the same thing.
You can identify as agender as well as nonbinary, genderqueer, and/or genderfluid at the same time.
The words someone uses to describe their gender depends on their own identity, feelings, and beliefs.
Agender is a great word for someone who doesn’t feel like they identify with any gender in particular.
Someone might choose the term over similar words (like genderless or gendervoid) if they feel a stronger emotional or intellectual connection to it.
There isn’t a “test” to figure out whether you’re agender, because it depends on your own identity.
This is because being agender means different things to different people, and no two agender people have the exact same experience.
Whatever word you want to use to describe your gender, it’s OK. It’s a personal decision and it should be respected.
To get you thinking about whether or not you may be agender, you can do the following:
Read up on gender
Reading articles and books about being agender, watching relevant YouTube videos, and finding resources on gender identity can help you learn more.
Learning about other people’s experiences with gender identity might help you articulate your own gender.
Think about your own gender
What does gender mean to you? If you could choose any gender, what would it be? How would it look? If you knew you would be unconditionally accepted by society no matter what gender you are, how would you identify? What pronouns would you use? You could journal about this.
Connect with others
Meeting and talking to nonbinary, gender-fluid, genderqueer, or gender-questioning people can help you find support while questioning your gender.
You might be able to find in-person LGBTQIA+ meetups in your area, but if not, there are many online forums for this purpose.
Practice calling yourself agender
Call yourself agender out loud, or in a journal, or in your head. Ask yourself whether the term feels comfortable and apt.
You don’t need to tell others about this if you’re not comfortable doing so — this can stay private if you prefer.
There are no right or wrong answers here. The term you use should feel comfortable to you.
It’s totally fine to identify as agender and later feel that your gender has shifted.
You might also identify as agender and later discover a term that you connect with more. Just because your gender may change over time doesn’t mean it’s invalid.
If you have an agender loved one, there are a few ways you can support them:
- They may change their pronouns or name. It’s important to use the pronouns and name they want you to use.
- Reiterate that you’re there to support them. Ask them if there’s any specific way you can show your support: They may have a specific request.
- Give them space to talk about being agender without expecting them to talk about it (as they might not want to).
Need more information? We created a guide to talking to transgender and nonbinary people in a respectful way.
If you’d like to learn more about being agender, or about gender identities in general, here are a few useful resources:
- Neutrois is a great resource for anyone who is or thinks they may be neutrois, agender, or genderless.
- Nonbinary Wiki is a wiki-type site that includes a lot of information relating to gender identities.
- Genderqueer.me has an extensive list of resources on gender, including resources for people who are trans or nonbinary.
- Similarly, Transgender Care Listings has a helpful list of resources for nonbinary people.
- Interested in reading? Book Riot’s list of books about gender identity includes both fiction and nonfiction books about being trans and nonbinary.
If you’d like to learn more about gender, view our list of 64 different terms to describe gender identity and expression.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.