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I’m going to Japan this summer and staying with a host family. I am a non-binary/gender-nonconforming person and I need to tell the program I’m going through in order to place me with a host family. Only problem: I don’t know a word for this, and neither does my Japanese teacher! Does anyone know a way to tell my host family I’m not a boy or a girl?

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This concept itself is not widely recognized in Japan at least at the moment. Most Japanese people vaguely know that the concept of gender is rapidly changing over the sea, but I have seen mixed reactions to it. There is no guarantee that Japanese people will accept the Western concept of gender in the near future.

Here are words used mainly in LGBT communities, most of which are direct borrowings from English. But whichever word you use, you'll probably have to explain its meaning.

  • ノンバイナリージェンダー
  • 第3の性
  • Xジェンダー (this seems to be a wasei-eigo term; Wikipedia)
  • ジェンダークィア

For what it's worth, I am a native Japanese speaker, and I remember I have seen 第3の性 in some online news articles about European countries. The others were totally unfamiliar words to me.

IMHO, if you need to fill some form, writing その他 ("other") as a starter is another reasonable option. The aforementioned terms can appear to be fairly unfamiliar, technical or maybe even a little oppressing, and some people may take it unnecessarily seriously even before you meet them.

Related: How to say "marriage equality"?

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