queer fam

The demiboy identity: 6 questions you always wanted to ask

Demiboy pride flag

So, you’ve heard the term demiboy but don’t know what it means? That’s totally understandable! This is a term that isn’t often talked about, and there’s not a lot of information out there on it. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this post, we’ll define what a demiboy is and talk about some of the characteristics associated with this identity.

RELATED: ‘Sort Of’ creators Bilal Biag & Fab Filippo on bringing nonbinary realness to TV

What Is A Demiboy?

First, let’s get one thing out of the way – the difference between sex and gender.

When we talk about a person’s sex, we’re talking about whether they’re assigned male or assigned female at birth. This is often determined by a doctor based on one’s external sex characteristics.

Gender identity, on the other hand, is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as your “innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither”. In short, it’s how you see yourself.

So what does this have to do with the demiboy definition?

The word “demi” means “half” or “partially”. And so to be demigender means to identify partially with a particular gender. A demigirl may feel partially like a girl, but not to the point where they identify as a woman. Similarly, demiboys may feel somewhat like a boy, but not entirely.

Demiboys and demigirls fall under the non-binary umbrella. Non-binary people are those who do not identify exclusively as male or female. In fact, they don’t subscribe to the gender binary – that is the classification of gender into two distinct categories. For non-binary people, gender is more like a spectrum. They can identify anywhere in the spectrum or even outside of it.

With that being said, demiboys may or may not express themselves in overtly masculine ways. Some demiboys may feel comfortable wearing clothes you can typically find in the men’s section, while others choose more androgynous clothing. Others may even mix and match feminine and masculine clothes and accessories.

Two trans-persons or genderqueer people wearing chest binder,

Is Being A Demiboy The Same As Being Genderfluid?

The demiboy/demigirl identities may sound similar to the genderfluid identity. But it’s important to note how they are distinct.

A demiboy may feel like they have a masculine element to their gender identity or have a partial connection to the male gender. On the other hand, when a person identifies as genderfluid, it means that their conception of their gender identity is constantly changing. A genderfluid person may connect with one gender today and identify as another gender tomorrow.

What’s The Difference Between Being A Demiboy And A Trans Man?

Demiboys identify with some aspects of masculinity – regardless of their assigned sex or gender identity. Trans people, on the other hand, feel like their assigned sex at birth is in conflict with their gender identity.

Sometimes, this disconnect can create real physical discomfort and psychological distress. This phenomenon is called gender dysphoria. For many trans people, the best way to relieve their dysphoria is by changing their appearance, name, and pronouns to reflect how they truly feel inside. As such, many trans people elect for hormone replacement therapy and gender-affirming surgery.

It should be noted that some demiboys, non-binary people, and people with genderqueer identities may also experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is not a prerequisite to being trans.

Can you be trans and identify as a demiboy? Yes, you can. As noted in the Trans Youth Equality Foundation’s terminology page, transgender people may identify within the gender binary, along the spectrum, or even outside of it. As such, you can have trans people who identify as non-binary, trans masculine, trans feminine, demiboy, demigirl, etc.

People holding signs with pronouns

Demiboy Pronouns: What Should You Use?

Whether you identify as a demiboy, a cisgender man, or a trans man, you can use any pronouns that feel right for you.

Some people may also use pronouns interchangeably, going by both he/him and they/them pronouns. If you’re not comfortable with he/him or they/them pronouns, you can also use neopronouns like xe/xem, ze/zir, or ey/em. It’s completely up to you!

What Does The Demiboy Pride Flag Look Like?

While there is no official demiboy flag, a few flags have cropped up from a handful of Tumblr users. One of the most famous demiboy flags is the one designed by Tumblr user Transrants in 2015.

Transrants’ demiboy flag colors include dark gray, light gray, and light blue, and white, all represented by horizontal stripes. 

The blue stripes represent masculinity, the gray stripes represent partial connections, and the white stripe represents non-binary identities.

Transman embracing his gender identity. Young transgender man looking at the camera while standing against a pride flag.

How Can You Support A Loved One Who Identifies As A Demiboy?

If someone close to you partially identifies as a boy or comes out as a demidude person, here are 4 examples of ways you can be a better ally and friend:

1. Listen And Learn

Though it may sound simple, most of the time, people just need someone to hear them out and to see them for who they really are. If your friend comes out to you, accept them with open arms, listen to what they have to say, and assure them that you’re always there for them.

2. Use Their Preferred Pronouns

It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but hearing other people use their correct pronouns can be a validating experience. For those who experience gender dysphoria, being called the wrong pronouns can be triggering.

If you’re unsure what pronouns to use, just ask! But remember to do so in a respectful way. It’s also better to ask about someone’s pronouns in a one-on-one conversation, so that they don’t feel like they’re put on the spot.

And if you ever mess up someone’s pronouns, don’t make a big deal of it or apologize profusely. Just correct yourself and move on.

3. Educate Yourself

It can be difficult to be the token queer person in the room. That is to say, the one queer person in a roomful of straight people who has to answer each and every question about the LGBTQ+ community. It can also be exhausting to have to correct people all the time, especially when another person is dismissive or disrespectful about your gender identity. As such, queer people appreciate allies who can help demystify stereotypes and stand up against prejudiced people.

4. Be Respectful

It’s okay if you don’t completely understand what it means to be transgender, or if you can’t wrap your head around what it’s like to be non-binary. It’s okay if you still get gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression confused. What’s important is that you try to understand your queer friends and that you treat them with dignity and respect. Don’t make jokes about how many letters there are in the LGBTQIA+ acronym, or how demiboys aren’t really boys. Treat LGBTQ+ people the same way you want to be treated!

The Bottom Line

Demiboy is a term describing someone who experiences feeling partially connected to the male gender identity. Despite this partial connection, demiboys don’t feel completely male. As such, demiboys (and demigirls) fall under the non-binary umbrella, alongside genderfluid and genderqueer people.

RELATED: New Netflix show for pre-schoolers features a non-binary bison