X-gender (Japanese: Xジェンダー, romanized: x-jendā) is a third-gender that differs from M, for male, or F, for female. The term X-gender came into use during the later 1990s, popularized by queer organizations in Kansai, specially in Osaka and Kyoto. The term is used in place of non-binary and genderqueer in Japan, as well as on U.S. passport applications.
Prominent examples of people who define themselves as "X-gender" are mangaka Yūki Kamatani and Yuu Watase.
In 2019, Japan LGBT Research Institute Inc. conducted an online survey, collecting 348,000 valid responses from people aged 20 to 69, not all of whom were LGBT. 2.5% of the respondents called themselves X-gender.
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The expression X-gender is made up of the X, which is used in documents in many countries for an indeterminate gender (e.g. in Austria). And gender is understood in Japan according to the meaning in English. The composition originated in Japan itself and is only used there. In contrast, the international terms "transgender", "genderqueer" or "non-binary" are hardly ever used for such gender identities in Japan.
The Kansai region on the Japanese main island is assumed to be the origin of the expression, where it appeared again and again in publications by queer (homosexual) groups in the course of the 1990s, although the exact origin is unknown. The meaning is first considered and defined in detail in an issue of Poco a poco magazine, published by G-Front Kansai in 2000, which contained several articles about people who would be classified as X-gender. However, the term itself only appeared in the glossary. Through one of the founding members of the group, who participated in several interviews and documentaries, x-jendā (pronounced ekkusu jendā in Japanese) further established. As a result, the term became more widespread through use in social media and increased awareness of the gender discourse in public opinion.
X-gender is considered part of the transgender spectrum and is often considered a gender identity disorder (Japanese: 性同一性障害, romanized: seidōitsuseishōgai). Although the term only came into use at the turn of the millennium, third gender identities have been known in Japan (such as okama or onabe) and outside for a long time (such as the Hijra in India, the Kathoey in Thailand or the Native American Two-Spirit). Since X-gender encompasses a wide variety of gender identities, there is no clear definition of this category in terms of a specific gender; three subgroups are common:
The word component -sei (性) used in all of these designations means "gender" and refers to both biological and identity characteristics.
In addition there is a fourth subgroup
There are multiple explanations for gender identity that can be summarized as X gender, including but not limited to the above, and variations of neutrality such as "male-leaning neutrality," neutrality with gender identity other than gender binaryness, and examples of both genders but feeling superior to one gender or the other, so even if the term is the same on the surface, there is a range in perception by the parties involved.
The meanings of "transgender" and "gender identity disorder" originally referred to the change between the two sexes man-woman: from one to the other entirely (transsexuality). Part of the ideas was also that there was only this dual gender, combined with a heteronormativity of the respective sexual orientation (opposite sex love). In contrast, Japanese X-gender offers an indefinite possibility of gender assignment outside of the two categories without questioning their binary or heteronormativity.
In a study that examined whether X-gender, which does not have either male or female identity, can be regarded as a fixed rather than diffuse or confused identity, three types of gender identity were identified based on the open-ended questionnaire that asked the respondents to describe their goals regarding their gender identity: transient, swinging, and active. The paper points out that clusters can be extracted, and that transient and aggressive types may be regarded as one fixed identity.
Transient type (過渡型, Kato-gata)
Affirmative type (積極型, Sekkyoku-gata)
On the other hand, in contrast to these classifications, there are studies that focus on the subjective experience of each individual X-gender person. For example, some people identify as X-gender because they do not want to live in the gender they were assigned at birth, but not because they prefer the other gender, or because their perceived gender changes from time to time between male and female, or neither male nor female, and they therefore identify as X They may identify as gender. It is said that these experiences lead them to identify as X-gender, but it is possible to understand X-gender as a way of understanding people in accordance with the path they have taken in their lives, which cannot be understood only by classifications.
Starting on April 11, U.S. citizens will be able to select an X as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application.
The same year , Fushigi Yugi creator Yuu Watase came out as X-gender ...
Mangaka Yuu Watase came out as X-gender in 2019 ...