Feminist blog Everyday Feminism has published an explainer titled “What Does Multigender Mean?” telling people they can identify as any gender they want, but warned not to appropriate genders from other cultures and groups.
According to the article, “there is an infinite diversity of genders in the world” and “multigenders can include any type of gender imaginable.” Even better, “each person has a totally unique interpretation and relationship with any gender they inhabit.”
This turns out to be a short-lived promise, because those who decide to go down the rabbit hole of gender identities must also recognize that some genders are actually “culturally appropriative” and shouldn’t be used.
The blog gives an example of “Two-Spirit” gender that belongs to some North American Indigenous groups, therefore no “outsider” should claim it. “Because it’s impossible to access these genders without being part of a specific cultural context, it’s inappropriate for outsiders to claim any Two-Spirit gender,” the article states.
Everyday Feminism also notes that people using certain multigender identities can be “problematic” because they might encompass multiple identities, including those genders that are culturally appropriated.
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Pangender people, for instance, identify as all genders which is, according to the explainer, a problem because “‘all genders’ includes culturally specific genders that must not be appropriated.”
Luckily, pangender people can avoid the sin of cultural appropriation by identifying as “all available genders” or “maxigender.”
The problem of appropriation doesn’t stop here, according to Everyday Feminism. Some gender identities are also exclusive only to certain groups, despite saying earlier that multigender people are free to identify as they see fit:
Other identities are only available to neuroatypical people, such as gendervague. This term that describes being unable to discern their gender due to neurodivergence. Two other examples are autigender and fascigender, which are exclusive to people with autism.