Binary blurring in the Queer community.
For most of us when Ruby Rose hit the pop culture scene is when we really started to take note of “Genderfluidity”. Those of us in the Queer community are not new to gender bending. Many of “our” girls have always been “boyish” and our boys “girly”. In fact most of us actually identify other lesbians by their tomboy qualities and gay men by their feminine nuances. That’s what Gaydar is: The ability to pick up on another persons subtle differences in gender expression. We’ve always acknowledged “gender bending” in the Queer community, only our understanding of gender expression and subsequent language for it has just been different. I would argue in its infant stages. We just hadn’t had the framework to express what we’ve always known is there, until now.
In the LGBTQ+ community, individuals deviating from traditional gender binaries have long been described with labels like butch, fem, queen ect. These self identifying labels are limited in that they eluded more towards describing a person’s physical gender expression less their gender identity. So essentially a lesbian self identifying as butch doesn’t necessarily mean that she identifies as male, it can simply describe how she chooses to express her style, traits and behaviour. It’s worth noting “Butch” is also a subculture in the lesbian community and regarded THE “authentic” lesbian identity. Many young lesbians in the community coming out often feel pressure to style themselves more butch to be identifiable as a “Lesbian” as well as be accepted by the lesbian community. So often in the community a “Butch” appearance has less to do with gender identity but more with sexual identity. Think about how many of us got that super short coming out hair cut.
So what about those individuals in the community that feel that their gender identity deviates from their biological gender?
Butch doesn’t really seem to cut it for these folks does it?! Enter onto stage the gender identity movement with its basket of new labels to address and express gender identity.
If you are anything like me, your Google search engine history this year has included a lot of terms like: Gender fluid, Genderqueer, Pansexual ect. There are so many new terms, but don’t be put off by it. It’s actually all a lot less complicated then it seems initially. All you have to do is basically scrap male-female binary completely and think of things on a continuum, a really “Fluid” continuum where movement along its axis is not restricted. An individual is free to roam back and fourth expressing their gender in any masculine and feminine manner as the feel inspired to do so. Take our Miss Ruby Rose for instance. Ruby typically moves between rocking the most tomboy look one moment and a skirt the next. In a recent interview with Elle Magazine she expressed her experience of Gender fluidity as being this:
“Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other. For the most part, I definitely don’t identify as any gender…..I’m not a guy; I don’t really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I’m somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like having the best of both sexes.”
Ruby’s quote really illustrates how gender fluidity exists outside the traditional understanding of gender. It’s limitless and not confined to prescribed gender roles. Gender fluidity encourages a person to express their “feminine” and “masculine” traits when they feel inclined and even simultaneously. Gender fluidity comes out of the belief that persons aren’t inherently gendered as we have socially constructed them to be. The focus is that everyone is just HUMAN and capable of possessing any trait and identity. It gives people freedom to be who they truly feel they are without the limits, expectations and pressures that come with picking sides.
Individuals aren’t defined by their genitalia, nor should they be limited by it. I think most of can agree that people are a mix of masculine and feminine traits. So why do we insist on continuing to define and understand all of humanity by a male and female binary? The reason there are so many issues in society with gender (depression, discrimination, suicide etc.) is because the framework is all wrong and doesn’t suit a huge portion of the population. What does work? An inclusive, flexible understanding that embraces all of the beautiful qualities we all possess. To me gender fluid isn’t about gender at all, it’s about being HUMAN.