Demigender is an umbrella term for nonbinary gender identities that express a partial, but not full, connection to a certain gender. There is no minimum percentage of identification that can be used to determine whether someone is demigender or not; rather, the sole fact that an individual does not identify completely with any gender is enough for them to fall under the demigender umbrella. Some demigender individuals identify in part with two or more gender identities while some only partially feel closeness to one gender identity.
Why do we need terms like demigender? A lot of readers might be asking themselves that question. Demigender individuals are not a novelty, they have always existed and these feelings are not a product of modern decadence or a sign of the end of days. Just like words such as feminism or sexism arose in the 19th century to explain social phenomena that were and still are important, words like demigender work towards improve the accuracy and precision of interpersonal and societal communication. If someone who only partially feels connected to his given gender identity at birth, let’s say female, tries to communicate their feelings, it’s much easier to explain their identities to themselves as well as to others if a term that encompasses the specifics exists and is part of our shared social vocabulary.
To further understand Demigender, we have to review what a nonbinary gender identity is. Nonbinary gender is an umbrella term that includes any gender identity that doesn’t fit into the traditional gender binary model (male-female). To further understand all nonbinary gender identities, including demigender, we have to understand what the gender binary model, also called gender binarism, is. Gender binarism is the classification of gender identities into two distinct roles, which are usually determined according to biological sex: female and male. Under the traditional gender binary model, a person born male according to his biological sex will be considered male in gender identity as well. The same logic applies for an individual born female according to biological sex. Gender binarism has been challenged both by feminist and queer theorists over the past decades and has successfully been proved as a very narrow take on gender identity that doesn’t account for the subtleties of the individual’s gender experience.
We all experience gender in different ways. Some people do experience gender under the traditional model and identify completely as female or male. But other individuals cannot fully fit into these traditional gender divides, and hence the need for non-binary genders arises. Demigender is one of these non-traditional nonbinary gender identities.
Demigender individuals may, apart from identifying as demigirl or demiguy, also define their identities by combining them with other nonbinary genders such as agender or even bigender. Though this might seem contradictory, it is perfectly possible for a person to identify as demibigender because they could feel partial connection to two different gender identities. It is also possible for someone to identify as demigender and agender at the same time, since partial identification with a gender is only fractional and means that the person has the possibility of also partially feeling close to being agender, multigender or any other nonbinary identity.
Demigender identities include: demigirl (sometimes demiwoman, demifemale or demigal), demiboy (sometimes demiguy), deminonbinary (also demienby), demifluid and demiflux. Each of these subsets covered by the demigender umbrella term have distinctions and subtleties of their own.
Someone who identifies as demigirl partially identifies as a girl or woman regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth according. Demigirl individuals can be assigned the female identity at birth but feel only barely connected to it, although the disparity with their assigned gender is not dissociation significant enough to create real physical discomfort or dysphoria. Another expression of the demiwoman identity can be seen in trans feminine individuals who are not wholly binary identified, which means that they feel closer with female than male identities, but not enough to feel comfortable identifying as women.
A demiboy, also called demiguy, is someone whose gender identity is only partially male, regardless of gender assigned at birth. Also, a demiboy may be assigned male at birth but feel very little connection to the binary male role, though just like with demigirls, the dissociation from the role assigned to them at birth is not strong enough to cause physical discomfort or dysphoria. Similarly, demiguys can also be trans masculine (assigned female gender identity at birth) but not wholly binary-identified may feel more strongly associated with the male than with female, but still not enough to identify themselves as a man.
A gender identity for someone whose gender is partially fluid (genderfluid) with the other parts of their identity being static. For example, a demifluid individual could have a fixed part of their identity as a woman, but the fluctuating part of their identity could fall under both man and genderqueer.
A demiflux individual identifies as partially fluid with the other parts of their identity being static. This is different from demifluid because the word flux indicates that one of the genders that the individual identifies with is neutral (agender). For example, a static part of their gender might be genderqueer while the parts that fluctuate could be agender and woman.
Also known as demienby, is a gender identity for someone who partially identifies as nonbinary; that is to say, it’s an identity for someone who identifies as being partially outside of the traditional gender binarism, but not fully outside of it.
Demigender individuals, above all other characteristics, partially identify with the concept of gender and define themselves according to what specific notion of gender they feel somewhat related too. This contrasts with agender individuals since agender is often understood as the absence of gender, while demigender is understood as a partial presence of either a non-binary or a traditional gender identity.
It is crucial to remember that terms like demigirl, demiboy or demiflux do no exist to set people apart or to stand out from the majority, they exist because there are actual individuals out there that need to explain their identity to themselves and to others. While there are surely people who classify themselves as demigender under the impression that it will make them stand out of the crowd, those are not the people we should be focusing on. We need to pay attention to those individuals who feel their identities cannot be easily described to others and who can make use of a term to better understand themselves and to be better understood by others.
Once we have established that these terms do not exist so that people can boost their popularity or stand out, we can consider that one of the most subversive aspects of the Demigender identities is the fact that they force us to recognize that not all individuals can feel fully identified with a traditional gender binary role, but given that they can partially identify either with traditional or non binary roles keeps us from demonizing traditional roles and opens us to accepting non binary ones. A Demigender individual is proof that traditional roles do describe legitimate gender identities, but these identities don’t have to be felt or experienced by someone as wholes, they can be fluid, partial, in flux or simply not in concordance with the way and individual identifies. It is important to remember, especially when talking about non-binarism, that black-and-white thinking is what led us to establishing constricting gender roles in the first place. To fully break this cycle, we have to avoid binary (black-and-white) thinking towards traditional gender roles as much as we have to avoid applying it to non-binary roles. There are no good gender identities and there are no bad ones. Demigender identities show us that the process through which we form our gender identity is complex and, for many people, cannot be fully defined through gender binarism. But let’s not forget that some people can define themselves through traditional gender binarism, let’s not fall into the discrimination that minority gender identities go through.