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Gender apathetic describes someone who doesn’t strongly connect to any gender label. While each person has a unique relationship to their gender, many gender apathetic folks dislike being labeled as one particular gender.
For some peeps, labels can help them better understand themselves and their community. Labels might be the foundation of a network of support and love. But for others, labels can feel too restrictive, too limited, or just plain boring.
Someone who’s not really into labels when it comes to their own gender identity — or even the concept of gender itself — might identify as gender apathetic.
But since there’s a lot more to this identity than a mere “meh,” here’s a deep dive into what it means to be gender apathetic.
When someone is “apathetic,” they’re basically choosing the “don’t know/don’t care” option on the customer survey. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing. It’s that feeling Taylor Swift sang about when she said she forgot that you existed. No concern, no worry, no interest.
Generally speaking, gender apathetic people feel like Taylor when it comes to their own gender. They don’t fully vibe with any specific gender identity or expression. And they’re okay with that.
Call it what you will — openness, flexibility, an aversion to being boxed in — gender apathetic people are just fine without the labels, thanks very much.
Some aspects of certain genders might fit a bit, but nothing in the wide array of identity and expression fully captures a gender apathetic person’s total sense of self. They might even feel like they’re existing somewhere off the gender spectrum entirely. They could be gendered or genderless, but they’re not really interested in how that applies to them. And that’s all good.
Gender apathetic people might also call themselves by terms that connect to the sex or gender they were assigned at birth. So they could go by:
- cis apathetic
- trans apathetic
Gender apathetic people are sometimes confused with other genders that fall under the nonbinary umbrella, such as:
- Agender. Someone who is agender doesn’t have an inner sense of their own gender and may not experience a personal gender. Meanwhile, a person who is gender apathetic might feel loosely connected to certain gender identities but doesn’t really care either way.
- Androgyne. An androgyne person may identify and/or express their gender with masculine qualities, feminine qualities, or neither. Those who are gender apathetic might not mind too much about these distinctions.
- Aliagender. Aliagender peeps may experience a gender that is firmly “other.” As in, not female or not male. Gender apathetic people might not feel the need for that type of label.
BTW, it’s important to note that gender identity is your own inner sense of your personal gender. This is very different than gender expression which is how you act, dress, talk, or express yourself in relation to your gender.
Gender apathetic people usually aren’t too bothered by being mistakenly misgendered by a careless pronoun flinger. In fact, they might not use the same pronouns consistently.
But, hey, claiming to know what might trigger apagender people or speculating about what they “usually” or “probably” act like is a label in and of itself. So why not just ask someone about their pronouns?
To help out, here’s a small list of ever-evolving pronouns commonly used by apagender people:
- he, him, his, and himself
- she, her, hers, and herself
- ve, ver, vis, vis, and verself
- ze/zie, hir, hir, hirs, and hirself
- xe, xem, xyr, xyrs, and xemself
- they, them, their, theirs, and themself
PSA: Keep in mind that everyone’s different. Some people who are gender apathetic might put more weight on pronouns than others. And remember that good ol’ golden rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated.
Identities shift over time — which is totally valid — and being gender apathetic looks different for everyone. Many gender apathetic people have a settled and simple view of their identity. Others might still be searching for answers or dealing with the pressure to conform.
If you’re curious about gender apathy and how it applies to you, maybe start by asking yourself some questions:
- Is gender a key part of your identity?
- What are your pronouns? Do they change?
- Do you have a gender expression? Does it change?
- Does it bother you if someone misgenders you?
- Do you care how your partner perceives your gender?
- Do you care how other people in your life perceive your gender?
- What does gender mean to you? Does the idea of gender interest you?
- How do you feel about the gender you were assigned at birth? Good, bad, meh?
- Do you identify with any gender? Do you identify with some aspects of certain genders?
Answering these questions might lead you to more questions. So be sure to do some research and connect with others who might help guide you.
Finding a like-minded community might be difficult for someone who is, by nature, generally not so interested in talking about or celebrating their gender identity. This could lead to a sense of isolation for gender apathetic people.
But remember, loneliness and confusion surrounding gender exploration is totally normal. And you’re definitely not alone.
Here are some terrific resources to help you explore your gender identity and connect with like-minded peeps.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is an organization that focuses on preventing suicide in the LGBTQIA+ youth community. They’re a great resource for finding information, community, and counseling.
You can reach a crisis counselor 24/7 via their online chat platform. You can also hear a live voice by calling 1-866-488-7386 or reach out via text by sending texting “START” to 678-678.
GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
If you’d like to better understand different gender identities, GLAAD offers this excellent glossary on sexual orientation and gender identity. This list of terms is a great guide for someone who is starting this journey from ground zero.
For more info on gender identity, GLAAD also recommends checking out this glossary on gender identity which gives you even more detailed info on gender identity and gender expression, transgender people, and nonbinary people.
The Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is a wonderful resource if you’re looking for support as you explore your gender identity. You can download their Supporting and Caring for our Gender Expansive Youth booklet to help you become a better ally, too.
If in-person therapy isn’t your thang, we gotchu. Lots of top-notch mental health apps offer gender-related therapy.
Some fan-fave online therapy apps include:
Gender apathetic people just aren’t into labels or boxes or restraints or whatever might pin people to the grand pegboard of life. While our culture is endlessly fascinated with putting everything and everyone into their proper category, gender apathetic folks won’t be so easily filed away.
People who are gender apathetic can fall into any spot on the vast array of gender identity or expression. They may also wish to choose pronouns that fit their unique identity. But nothing fully captures a gender apathetic person’s total sense of self. And they’re not really that concerned with thinking about it. Or how you think about them.
If gender apathy sounds like something that vibes with you, it can be difficult to find connection within this understandably low-key community. But remember that you’re not alone. Community, support, and understanding is a click, call, or text away.