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Gender Fluidity 101

What does it mean to be “gender-fluid?”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gender-fluid means “not clearly or wholly male or female; androgynous; designating a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; of or relating to a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity (now the usual sense)”.

People who identify as gender-fluid often have difficulty acclimating to romance languages like Italian. In English, people of gender-fluid status tend to not fall into the categories of “he,” “she,” “him,” or “her,” often using “they,” “them,” and other pronouns to represent themselves. Unlike the English language, Italian does not have a neutral, or genderless singular pronoun like “they” or “them.” In Italian-speaking communities, drastic changes to language in everyday speech are not always well-accepted, especially because the Italian language would require the creation of a new pronoun.

Jeffrey Marsh is a non-binary activist, writer, and social media personality. They have contributed and wrote for TIME.com, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed. Marsh has more than 500 thousand fans and more than 350 million views on social media. Last year, they published a the book How to Be You, what Marsh describes as “the definitive guide to self-esteem,” through Penguin Random House, making them the first non-binary author to be published by a major publishing house. They also serve as LGBTQ Affairs Consultant for the City of New York. Visit their webpage at www.jeffreymarsh.com.

Fiorenza Quercioli is an expert in linguistics and has extensive experience instructing Italian as a second language. She holds degrees in linguistics and language, including a Ph.D. from the University of Florence. She has also published various articles concerning the acquisition and teaching of the Italian language as a second language. She is an active member of several professional associations including American Association of Teachers of Italian and Insegnanti di Italiano Lingua Seconda Associati. Read more about her on the Stanford University website.

Enrie Scielzo is an Italian transgender model. She graduated with honors in Foreign Languages and Cultures at the University of Salerno before starting her modelling career. In 2012 she placed first in the contest Fresh Face of Italy, and she appears as a new international face on modeling’s most influential platforms. She has lived in Barcelona, Milan, and London, working as a fashion editor and contributor for fashion magazines while pursuing her modelling career. In 2014 she launched The Ladyboy, the first fashion and beauty blog in the world dedicated to transgender fashion, "an invitation to light-heartedness, to beauty and to be oneself". Here’s a link to Enrie’s blog The Ladyboy.

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