More than 1,000 words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in 2016, and among them is “gender-fluid.” “Gender-fluid” is used to describe “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.”
The term “gender-fluid” has been used for many years by the LGBTQ community, but its addition to the dictionary sends a message to a larger audience.
“Adding words about our identities, ideas, and community to the dictionary is a powerful gesture that helps young queer people know that they are valued, loved, and affirmed by the world around them,” said HRC supporter Jacob Tobia, host of NBC OUT’s “Queer 2.0.”
What’s more, inclusion of the term in the OED reinforces legitimacy for those who are unfamiliar with it or question its validity.
The editors of the world’s most prestigious English language dictionary have long recognized that the publication must be constantly updated to reflect the evolution of the language. There’s no doubt that increased visibility of people who identify as gender-fluid, such as Ruby Rose, have helped to accelerate the wider acceptance of the term.
OED editor Katherine Martin echoed this, telling Time that the “speed at which the English language is expanding” to accommodate different gender identities is the most thrilling for her to observe.
The full definition of gender-fluid in the Oxford English Dictionary is as follows:
“(a) (in early use) not clearly or wholly male or female; androgynous; (b) 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).”
Learn more at HRC’s Glossary of Terms.