A Fluid Situation

OK. Now this is where I start to feel old; I’ve never heard of the term “genderfluid” before, and I’m not really sure what it means.

I get that human sexuality is broad and diverse, and have previously argued that polyamory should be considered a sexual orientation in the exact same manner that heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality are considered sexual orientations. I still remember being a 16-year-old kid reading an AP wire story in the Boston Herald about the murder of Brandon Teena in Nebraska (the Boys Don’t Cry case) and being horrified by the idea of somebody being murdered merely because they didn’t identify with the physical manifestation of their gender. I recognize that transgenderism is real, and believe that transgender citizens should receive equal treatment under the law. However, I have to admit I’m not clear on the concept of being genderfluid.

Honestly, I feel kinda lost, like a prematurely old man, confused about a social reality. So consider this an open thread. Can somebody coherently explain the concept of being genderfluid to me? Does it mean that somebody merely identifies as a human being, period, as opposed to being exclusively male or female? Is this a failure of imagination on my part? I want to understand–please help me to. After all, as President Johnson said 51 years ago, “We must either love each other, or we must die.”

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.