Genderless word for “spouse”

This could be potentially helpful for LGBT+ folks, and is the result of a few members in the past asking about a genderless word for “spouse”, (instead of needing to use homem / mulher / esposa / esposo.)

As you know, Portuguese is a gender-obsessed language, whereas in English, you have a bit more selection of genderless words to choose from, such as partner, spouse, other half etc.

At least around Lisbon, LGBT+ individuals shouldn’t be too worried about showing their true colours. But no matter how out and proud you are, there may still be situations where you prefer to be a bit more vague.

O meu “cônjuge” - the word is masculine, but could refer to any gender.

You can use that word regardless of what gender your spouse is. You will also see that on some forms you fill out, so might as well add it to your list of vocabulary to learn!

I quizzed @ruicoimbra about words that someone could use who is coupled but not married, and that seemed more difficult. He couldn’t think of a great answer, but said there are ways to be vague, although it requires some more work:

Estou numa relação, e moramos juntos (I am in a relationship, and we live together)

Vou levar um acompanhante (I’m bringing a guest [which could imply a date])

Sim, eu namoro (yes, I’m dating someone)

Sim, estou com alguém (yes, I’m with someone)

People of course will likely pick up on why you’re being vague, but at least this gives you some alternatives.

To be clear, this isn’t to advocate hiding who you are, but trying to provide the freedom to choose in any given moment how much you feel like revealing.

@Joseph, would you happen to have anything to add (or correct?)


Thank you very much, @joelrendall, @ruicoimbra, and @Joseph for this useful information! :slightly_smiling_face:

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It’s all correct :slight_smile: I would add that “cônjuge” is not a very common word to use, and by going out of your way to use it, especially for men, people will probably already infer the rest. This is because even though the word is supposed to be gender neutral, many people mistakenly associate it with the male gender anyway.

Another suggestion: “Eu sou comprometido(a)” (I’m committed/I’m taken). Also, if people ask you more about your partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/etc., you could always say things like “A pessoa com que namoro é [insert description]” (The person I’m dating is…). Or “Estou casado com uma pessoa [insert description]…” (I’m married with someone who is…).