Gender-neutral and/or non-binary alternatives to fangirl/fanboy

I found myself thinking recently about the lack of gender neutral or non-binary language for the terms fangirl and fanboy. I understand that ‘fan’ is actually gender neutral, but it doesn’t transfer to the verb form very well – ‘fanning out’ doesn’t quite work like ‘fangirling out’ does.

Anyway, a combination of googling and a call-out to my friends on facebook produced some pretty great options, and I wanted to share them here!

I only found one specifically non-binary term, but I’m ok with that because I kind of love it:

  • fanby. It’s a portmanteau of fan and enby, and I think it’s lovely.

Even given that, though gender neutral options are useful for talking a collective groups of fanbies, fangirls, and fanboys. So here’s the highlights of what my awesome friends (plus google) turned up:

  • Fanbody. I’m not even sure what I like about this one, but it definitely works. Fanbodies works too.
  • Fanchild/Fankid. I like that these linguistically matches boy/girl to some extent. They also seem to be what my enby friends use for the most part, so! I find fanchildren weirdly hilarious, and definitely like fankids as well.
  • Fanfolk. Or alternatively, fannish folk. This is only useful in the plural sense, I think, but I quite like it for that.
  • Fanpeep. So cute! Fanpeeps is also fab.

What do y’all think? Any other ideas?


  1. I’ve reached the age where fangirl feels wrong because I’m not a girl, I’m a woman. Where saying people are fangirling over a male character sounds too heteronormative, like it’s all about how hot he is, obviously because they’re girls even if you’d also use the verb in other contexts.

    I remember people talking about how some specific fandoms have gender neutral terms for their fans: Oncers in the OUaT fandom, Gleeks for Glee, etc.

    I like the idea of saying a person is squeeing over something rather than fangirling over it.

    I like fannish folks and maybe singular could be fannish person. I also don’t mind “person in fandom” or “member of the ___ fandom”…

    I like of course the more specific terms too. I’m first and foremost a vidder, then a podficcer, then a fanfiction writer/reader (also fanvideo watcher/consumer, podfic appreciator/listener) – I’m not a fan artist personally some very talented people create drawings and other traditional and graphic art in fandom – all gender neutral terms and all more specific to what you’re usually talking about anyway. Fandom isn’t a monolith. “Twitter fandom” refers to both an environment and a specific group of people. It’s different than “tumblr fandom”, “YouTube fandom” etc etc.

    I don’t usually want a word specific to my gender when it comes to my identity in fandom. I love acknowledgement of the actual statistics and demographics on different subspaces but that’s a different context than just saying fanboy or fangirl.

    1. Oh yes! Thanks for bringing up the issue of fangirl/boy being kind of infantilizing. It was a weird aspect of my search here that I kind of *wanted* some neutral/non-binary options that actually had that same youthful (to give it a positive spin :P) connotation, but I think it’s also great that a lot of the options are more ageless.

      I am also all about gender neutral fandom-specific terms for sure! Or any fandom-specific terms tbh.

  2. I don’t know if anyone else has heard this term, but I’ve seen people use it. It’s fanboi, spelled “i” instead of “y”. Fanpeep works too, just wish it was ore commonly used in the general public instead of trying to explain the logic of the wording.

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