After 6 months of blogging all about gender here at Neutrois Nonsense, I realized I haven’t really bothered to explain my gender – Neutrois. Sure, there are definitions and lists here or there, but I have yet to delve into why that’s me, why this label fits me, and why I found myself when I found this word.
There are differences between being genderqueer, androgynous, bi-gender, tri-gender, two-spirit, neutrois, or other (infinite) variations of genders – differences not just in wording or labels, but in how a person experiences each gender, in the very essence of each concept. Gender neutral is tricky to explain, especially when disentangling the difference between gender neutral and genderless and agender. One pain point is trying to define those differences when everybody uses different definitions of the words in the first place! And it gets more complicated when all definitions are valid, because honestly, they are still under construction, and each person finds themselves described in different words in different ways for different reasons. So, I won’t try to explain the definitions so much as just try to explain me, in hopes that this might clarify things by itself.
I’m going to break it down with some stereotypes, and yeah, I know stereotypes don’t define you or your gender and bla bla, but bear with me.
I have always hated being a girl. Being seen as a girl, being called a girl, doing girl things. I hate dresses, skirts, makeup, long hair, pink, dolls, high heels, (the list could go on…) anything that would be deemed girly. I dislike being called lady or ma’am. I despise being seen as weaker, more fragile, more emotional. It’s awkward when guys open doors for me. Any girly stereotype, I hate it when applied to me. I have no girly attributes in me. (Actually, I probably do – we all do – except, none of them qualify as a defining characteristic of me). But most of all, I hate being seen as having any girl attributes.
While I always wanted to be a boy, as a 3 year old youngster or a 25 year old youngster, I still don’t partake in stereotypical boy things. I like to exercise, to rock climb and go to to yoga and be active, and I’ve probably tried almost every sport you can think of at least once. But boys don’t like to exercise, they like Sports – the ESPN version, that is. And I can’t stand Sports. I hate watching football, or futbol, or baseball, and much less basketball (tall people scare me). Moreover, I really don’t get the whole obsession with cars or motorcycles, or guns or war or first-person shooters. I don’t even jump at being a gentleman – opening doors for girls is awkward. As a kid I didn’t play with trucks or G.I.Joes or run around in the mud, and to this day I am panic-attack-ly scared of any kind of creepy crawly bug. So, I don’t hate having boy attributes, I just don’t have any, and I would hate it if people imposed them on me.
Thus, I am the absence of the stereotypical characeristics of either gender. Instead, I embrace neutral characteristics, which belong to neither side.
Sure, all of my preferred behaviours and expressions can be found in both girls and boys. And at some point if you break it down enough, yes, all girls and boys eat and drink and sleep, which might been seen as neutral. And both girls and boys like to draw and play in the sandbox. Just like both girls and boys play sports.
Yet none of these are particularly girly or particularly boyish. But a girl playing football – now that’s manly; and a boy doing ballet – kinda girly. There are just some things that are deemed to belong very clearly to just one side, and when people cross over, it is seen as a transgression. These are all great, but these are all not me.
Dolls are for girls, trucks are for boys, and puzzles are neutral. And my gender is a puzzle.
Sorry For The Stereotypes – Hopefully You Get It Now
I’m not a femme boy or a butch girl – I am too butch to be femme, too femme to be butch.
It’s not embracing both sides, or one side; it’s embracing neither. It’s not an absence of gender, and it’s not not-caring about my gender. Quite the contrary – I care very strongly about my gender, my gender expression, and my gender perception.
I have a gender, and it’s a neutral gender.
54 thoughts on “Neutrois”
Sounds similar to my story. Good explanation!
In one of my songs many years ago, entitled “Fool in the Middle,” I had a verse, “One side pink and one side blue / purple’s gonna have to do / people can be very cruel when you’re / stuck in the middle.” It’s pretty rough (I was still learning the basics of music production) but it’s towards the bottom of the page at http://beesbuzz.biz/music/songfight/#001390
I feel very much the same way. Hope you don’t mind if I show this post to a few people who become eternally confused when I try to explain my situation to them. I feel like it would clear up those pesky questions quite considerably.
This is a great way to explain it – even though I have to deal with all the creepy crawly bugs
I think you explained yourself quite well and very clearly. I do not know why people would have difficulty understanding, yet I am sure they often do. While not neutrois myself, I do have somewhat extensive times/areas of my life and personality that are if not fully neutral, then extremely blended in terms of gender. For me I guess it comes from spending so many years in the male gendered realm, now living in the female gendered world and my past and present blurring together.
Very cool, Maddox. Explaining the difference between neutral and none is a bit hard when I don’t know what it feels like to be neutral, so hearing your experience helps. I really liked your description, “It’s not embracing both sides, or one side; it’s embracing neither.”
I’ve always known I was not a man or a woman, but at first I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was a neutral gender or a lack of gender. In the end I decided it was a lack of gender because I just wanted gender to stop existing altogether; it made absolutely no sense to me and people just would not leave me alone about it. So I guess you could say that while you embrace the ‘neither’, I reject all of it. (When it comes to myself, that is. I love learning about other people’s genders and I love seeing how others intentionally express their genders.)
I am working toward having a body that looks gender-neutral, but that’s only because I want to have a body that looks genderless and I know that isn’t possible. People see gender everywhere. They see it where it doesn’t even exist.
All of that being said, we’ve got some things in common — I’ve lost many a staring contest with creepy crawlies.
By the way, thanks for the linkage!
As you point out, sometimes we can have different identities, but same means of expressing them. Appearing to be genderless is appearing to be gender neutral, which is most akin to appearing androgynous (to me that is understood as a combination of genders). So on the surface we may all look gender ambiguous even though we feel very differently about our own gender.
I love how you differentiate so clearly between no gender and a neutral gender. You’ve articulated something I’ve always felt but couldn’t put words to. I’ve had a few friends tell me they believe gender doesn’t truly exist, it’s just a cultural thing, and while I agree that gender is influenced by culture (what is seen as “manly” or “girly” can be different in different cultures), I strongly believe that gender is real, and exists. And that mine is not male or female, and that’s where it gets tricky to explain to people 🙂 Thank you 🙂
Well, I hope that most of it is taken care of naturally by the fact that we are liivng a more diverse life than, say, I did as a child*.Fun fact: Kids are not curious about those things. At least mine.Questions like why is uncle kissing a man? , how come that [names of a lesbian couple] are getting married, where’s the groom? and even (puzzeling to me, since we covered the basics of human reproduction) How come that [names of lesbian couple] are having a baby together? have not come up yet.They see it, and it just is.But I still try to avoid sentences like when you have a boyfriend/husband of your own , and I credit blogs like yours in raising my awareness of the fact that such language could indeed undermine unconsciously all my good intentions.Privilege really is hard to see when you have it.*Cookies for my parents: They tried to raise me without the usual biases, but still the first time I knowingly met an openly homosexual person as a teen, I was kind of shocked. It was more like LGBT people exist, there’s nothing bad about them, but they don’t exist here .
thanks for sharing, maddox! i’m reallyreally stoked that you wrote this post; i’ve always found this stuff confusing. genderless vs gender-neutral makes a lot more sense now than it used to, so thanks! yay!
I feel very much similarly to what you expressed here and I thank you for writing this out so clearly as I would have a hard time expressing it myself.
So if gender is a color wheel, with pink= girl and blue = boy, with purple being both at once, does that make you…orange?
Hahaha! Indeed, I’m always wearing something orange!
Your description of gender is facsinating. I’ll be exploring more of your blog. Oh, and thanks for the follow.
So, today I participated in the trans* study I mentioned to you and I felt I should share this with you. So we got on the topic of defining what genderqueer is, and then I brought up the label neutrois. The person interviewing me admitted neutrois was a new term for her, she had heard it but, it was pretty new to her. So she asked me if I could define the difference between genderqueer and neutrois. I told her neutrois, to me, from my understanding, is to be genderless. And my definition of genderqueer was not feeling male or female. So I’m not sure if that clarified any real difference but she seemed to gain an understanding from that. I’m not sure what I really make of it other than I’m glad she got something from it. It made me happy to spread the word of neutrois hopefully I did it some justice haha.
I’m glad you brought up the terms. The way I define them (personally) is, genderqueer is the queer of gender, so any mix of gender that is not strictly cis would be genderqueer. A lot of genderqueer people feel they are a combination of genders rather than an absence of them. Neutrois can be either agender, genderless, or neutral gender. For me, it is neutral gender, neither female nor male.
Genderqueer is also a broad umbrella term, and can have a political connotation – much like queer – whereas non-binary is a more “factual” or “as is” term, which is why I prefer to identify as non-binary rather than genderqueer. Neutrois is just a specific type of non-binary. Moreover, genderqueer includes transgender, but does not imply it, whereas I feel non-binary sort of does. Neutrois can go either way.
With these words there is no set definition that everybody agrees upon, so people are redefining them as they define themselves by using them. It’s empowering (and I do not ever believe in policing labels or identities) but the downside is it can get very confusing.
Fascinating read. I recently wrote about gender and my confusion on the subject. I felt at the time like I had no gender. Perhaps it’s just that I have a neutral gender. Thanks for making me think. Will be coming back to read more.
Some neutrois and/or agender people feel more genderless than gender-neutral, though I don’t. It is tricky to untangle sometimes.
For a perspective on feeling genderless, I recommend Jillian’s (who commented above) post.
Yeah thanks, I did take a stroll over to Jillian’s blog.
I will think on it more, as I think I am slightly on the edge of genderless, although I haven’t settled on identifying myself as that completely yet.
Neat. I dropped by ’cause you gave my blog a follow. I don’t know how you found me and I don’t really think it matters. I just think it’s probably the coolest thing to meet new people and learn about them any way I can, so stopping by was a necessary thing.
It’s also made me hungry. I want to learn more. I love learning, especially learning new things about gender, and I found out a few new things lookin’ here, so I think I’ll have to stop back. While I am first and foremost a writer, I am also pretty fluid in the gender department, and it’s a passion of mine I don’t get the chance to wave about often. So I suppose this is me, waving it about at you.
I think it’s fascinating. I’m honestly glad I stopped by. It could, of course, just be fatigue poisons leaking into my brain, but it all makes perfect sense to me.
Of course, I’d go on and on about a gender ‘sphere’ and how masculinity and femininity are becoming so asinine as to be laughable (considering culture and even subculture [and down further to the individuals therin] differences between those terms and what it means to live up to either of those terms), but by the end of THAT line of thought everyone within a mile radius (including me) is hopelessly lost. This was quite concise. My post on the gender sphere? Not that concise. I don’t do concise well.
Off of that subject and onto something new, labels. Oh god, labels. Kill me now. They’re necessary evils. I hate them anyway. I suppose it helps prevent our minds from becoming instantly pretzel shaped, but they’re still annoying. Especially since I already know there aren’t enough labels to come even remotely close to matching every conceivable gender or nongender category. There never will be because every single person is different. Not just in socialization, but in core personality value. Who we are as a species and as individuals is constantly evolving. No matter how many labels we come up with, each of us has to have our own separate epiphany (whether large or small) about or gender and our place in the world around us. That’s just how it works- at least in my opinion.
Also, ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ changes from culture to culture. There’s not really a catch-all definition of anything. Culture throws it all out of whack. I mean really, you can try to pin it all down in neat categories. That’s SCIENCE after all. But it will slip away. It’s like it’s meant to slip away.
This, of course, is comin’ from the person who believes firmly in treating every person as an individual with unique experiences and memories and personality traits rather than a mindless drone s/he passes on the way to work every day. Whatever it is I practice, it’s certainly not SCIENCE.
(I guess. Don’t you need a labcoat to do science? Or the scientific method? I haven’t been able to buy a good scientific method OR labcoat.)
Well okay, that was way longer in wind than I wanted it to be. Bottom line, Maddox? Thanks for sharing! It’s very interesting. Gives me more to read and more to write about. I never have enough to write about.
Wow, so I feel a little foolish having a trans sister and knowing zilch about gender-neutral or genderless identities! Nutrois is a brand new word for me! Thank you for the follow. I’m very interested in the new information I’m discovering on your blog!
Exquisitely clear writing/explanation, Maddox. If everyone wrote like you, there would be no need for editors. May you have peace and joy in your journey. 🙂
I’ve just come across your blog (as a result of googling ‘post operative depression – had back surgery last week, spent all day yesterday crying…) and got interested in you and your blog. Having read your explanation of your gender, I wanted to tell you that I think that one of the big problems with the world we live in is that we (they?) feel we need to put labels on and explain everything. I totally related to your feelings about ‘girl’ things and also to your feelings about ‘boy’ things, but at the same time I know I am a girl – which is probably where we differ. But I’ve never felt I had to conform to other people’s expectations about what that should mean – and I know that this is scary for both men and women (and probably a big factor in my single status!). I look forward to a world that is full of people, just plain people, in all their diversity. Labels just make people feel safe – if we all allowed ourselves and others to live with the discomfort of not knowing, of the risk of not being able to sum up others in a word, so that we can feel that at some level we instantly ‘know’ them, or that we ‘belong’ (or don’t, of course), the world might be a happier place.
Sending love and light to you on your journey..
Maddox, thank you for hosting this wonderful informative blog. I recently have become close friends with a person of the gender-neutral persuasion. They are amazing and wonderful and just the exact person I needed to meet at this point in my own journey (and hopefully vice-versa!) ‘Neutrois’ is a word I’ve never heard them mention, but I like it, it’s neutral, neuter, nutritious. The Neutrinos are wild and crazy teenagers from the future in the Ninja Turtles cartoon series! ‘Trois’ is three, outside the binary. If I call them my ‘troifriend’ to rhyme with boyfriend people will get that we’re kind of a couple although only for the moment, we’re not planning to enforce a strict ‘coupling’ any more than we self-enforce any sort of binary gender or relationship categorization. One thing that brings us closer is that I’m (formerly) trans and they like that I ‘get’ gender as an arbitrary and oppressive form of patriarchal control that we both rebelled against by the sheer force of our existing! I just didn’t get that understanding from my first post-op cis-boyfriend, though he did have other charming qualities… I’ve been browsing around the web to understand more about gender neutrality and where my friend is coming from, and hit your site and your heartfelt discussions and personal reporting. I think I am beginning to understand and appreciate what the genderless post-feminist utopia might be like, and it’s not scary, with pioneering role models like yourself and my troifriend leading the way! Like I said, thanks. Rock on Maddox! Queer is the new normal!
Perhaps, capitalism cannot market nonbinary?
Hoteluri Iasi Ieftine
Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked
submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!
I read this and I realise it’s the literal opposite of me. I love pink and baking and knitting… and I also love guns and cars and sports (AND I do also love puzzles). Not sure wtf that makes me.
It makes you a person! xD The stereotypes were just meant by the blogger as an easier way to explain neutrality using a concept readers understand. Your gender is what you feel you are, not what your interests are. Interests are completely ungendered, society makes them gendered. So you are who you are, not what you like to do. (But also if you were saying that metaphorically and you feel like a boy AND a girl check out genderfluid/flux and bigender, they could be good gender identities for you!)
WOW!!! Whenever I read Micah’s Blog, the strong sense of being Neutrois gets stronger in me!! I exactly remember how Micah thinks or how (I don’t know What pronoun to use SO I better just use this GREAT blogger) this Great blogger mannered and I think I do the exact thing… not exactly like him… for example I play volleyball professionally… BUT i know many girls who do this with me, too…. so i guess playing professional sports is a term for both girls and boys….
but I NEVER wear Make up… NEVER!!! Even the simplest things i don’t even know their names.. 🙂
but i remember my friends telling me you are not as much masculine as for example that guy over there! so i though i’m neutrois.. that’s it . when people ask me.. that my answer:….don’t decide about MY gender… I DUNNO! I JUST AM!!!!
I have always been puzzled by this whole gender determination thing. What strikes me most about this post is that it is all about stereotypes. If you love GI Joe and hate dolls you are not a real woman? If you like cooking and knitting and hate sports you are not a real man? Is that what you are saying? Because I don’t believe that. I love cooking. Sometimes I use makeup. I used to play with LEGO as a child. I’m very good at mathematics and the first thing I saved money for and really loved to ‘play’ with was an IBM PC XT 286. I practice martial arts and like to watch soccer. I was never interested in dolls. I never liked GI Joe. I like to read fantasy novels. I like to sew. I love gardening and decorating. Among my favorite movies and TV shows are Les émotifs anonymes, Daredevil, Good Morning, Vietnam, J.A.G., Amelie, The A-Team, Better than Chocolate, and Syriana. I have a number of pink and purple clothes, in fact I’m wearing a pink T-shirt right now. I like to wear earrings. I like my hair long. I own a lot of shoes, some of them have high heels. I can spend hours shopping. One of my favorite past times on a summer weekend is to is to fire up my grill have some friends over for beer and steak. I adore kittens and puppies. I own a big turquoise hat and I love it. I have been in love with both men and women. Nevertheless, I’m completely cisgender. What gender am I?
This post is a metaphorical attempt at explaining my gender, using stereotypes. Gender is internally felt, very complex and difficult to explain. If you are cisgender, please take the time to understand others’ experiences before dismissing them just because they are different from your own.
I don’t dismiss them, it’s just that I don’t understand the way you explained it. I can understand if someone feels uncomfortable with their body and feels they are in truth another gender or not either gender. However, if you are only uncomfortable with your gender because you are not a stereotypical man or woman, I think society and self confidence are the problem, not your gender. It’s perfectly alright to be a man, wear high heels and hate sports, or at least it should be. If people say otherwise, they are the idiots. And I feel that your description of neutrois using societal stereotypes supports those stereotypes, which I find upsetting in a post from someone whom I expected to do anything but.
Thank you. Really, thank you.
Acho que finalmente me entendi!!!
Hi there! I stumbled upon your blog because I was actually googling what neutrois meant (I’d heard of it before and figured it meant gender neutral, but apparently it can also mean nongendered) and got here! This really explained well how I feel about my gender as well. Kind of. I’m still confused on it but it’s much easier to figure out now, thanks for that!
I don’t really agree with the whole stereotypes thing, as anyone can like anything despite their gender, but I see where you’re coming from in using the stereotypes. It just better explains the neutrality in an easy-to-understand way and conveys the neutrality of it. Genderless and genderneutral are indeed different. It’s like… pink is femalegendered, blue is malegendered, purple is bigendered, grey is neutralgendered, and black is nongendered (and of course there are a billion more genders and gender identities because everyone is different but this post is already long enough xD). When people take the black and grey and say they are the same, they’re wrong, and you explained that perfectly!
Since neutrois can be defined as genderneutral and/or genderless, I’m going to identify as neutrois, because no matter what I find my gender, it still defines me. So thank you for helping me figure that out! It’s quite difficult to find the difference between agender and genderneutral, and you explained it beautifully and understandable.
(Also, I can’t figure out if I’m genderless or genderneutral so you could say I’m being hypocritical in a sense haha if I can’t figure the difference within myself) Thank you again for writing something so informative and eye-opening, and I’m certain I’m not the only person you’ve helped in distressing confusion.
Also that was really long-winded xD sorry about that.
I need help understanding my daughter says she is agender and I’m so confused I wanna support her Yet have no clue how to support something I don’t understand
There are a few articles here written my moms of agender teens. Browse through the Featured Voices category and you’ll find them – I hope they help.
MEU DEUS, vc n sabe como eu me identifiquei. Pareceu eu escrevendo, pqp. Exatamente igual a mim, é de se espantar. Eu já sabia desde o começo q ia ser especial pra mim esse artigo pq a data q tu escreveu foi em no meu aniversário de 11 anos, bem quando eu tava indo pra hogwarts. Zoeira kkkj, mas é realmente o dia do meu niver s2. Eu tinha duvidas antes, medo de me assumir, mas agora tenho plena certeza disso, eu sou neutro!! Muito obrigada sz
Is it gender neutral if you like what you like, and some of those things are really girly, and some of those things are not and surprise people because they don’t jive with the way people perceive you. If you’ve never cared what “boys should like” and “girls should like” or how a
“girl should act” and thought the whole concept was pretty stupid and just do what feels right for you. If the only time you think of your gender if when you’re out in the world and people are reacting to you in a certain way or complimenting you and or excluding you and you’re like, oh yeah, that’s because I’m a woman. Weird. If you think women get ripped off because all of their clothing is so trendy that for like six years you couldn’t find a dress with sleeves, and a lot of it looks like clown clothing, and god forbid a cut or color that looks really good on you starts showing up everywhere in stores and you choose to stick with it because you will soon be out of date, but men can basically wear the same clothing for years and no one will ever notice. And sometimes you just want to go to Old Navy and get some mens shirts because they are awesome. If although you love your body because of all the feels and physical things it can do for you, and you think you’re good looking and appreciate your breasts and everything, you have felt that cleavage is more like a butt crack than something you want hanging out. You don’t get the whole “hot” concept. If you want to dress sexy- or any other way- you do it for you, not because you think you have to. If you don’t define yourself as a “straight woman” but just someone who has a clit, a vag and all the fixins) who is only sexually attracted to people with working dicks and wants someone who is really into what your genitals have to offer. Is that gender neutral? If you are femme AF in appearance but that’s just because you happen to like that stuff, not because you feel “pressure” to do it? I have always thought that I would like hair and nails and makeup and dicks and dresses and shaving my legs no matter my gender, so my being a woman works for me when I’m doing my thing as opposed to if I were a man, but on the other hand I have to put up with all that sexist and misogynist BS and that is crap because I have never felt less than or separate from the people who try to tell me I am. Is that gender neutral? Because honey I couldn’t be androgynous if I tried, except for in my head.