Dividing the world into males and female is such a big part of the culture that it can seem impossible, and perhaps even aggravating, to try to think outside those categories. This is not only a problem for squares stuck in a binary way of thinking—many of the terms associated with genderqueerness end up referring back to masculinity or femininity in some way, which is a bit tricky if the ideal is to move beyond the gender binary entirely.See the problem?
Whether they shift their clothing and expression to suit their moods, work to achieve an ambiguous appearance that cannot easily be classified as male or female, or dress or act in a way that fails to conform with the expectations for members of their gender, or any gender (or something else altogether—when reporting on this community one learns there’s always room for more exceptions), accommodating genderqueer individuals really isn’t so difficult. It comes down to listening to what they say about themselves, accepting that this is true for them, and not making a fuss about it. Occasionally, it may also mean making an effort to remember a pronoun that feels a little awkward.Would that it were so simple.
Functionality takes precedence, with elements taken from queer-friendly subcultures: punkishly torn vests, riot grrrl boots, hip-hop’s baggy T-shirts and grungey jumpers. What’s more, most gay women I know dress using elements of the above; it’s not only a uniform, but a Freemason’s handshake. It’s how we could tell the queer from the straight. So it’s no surprise that Ellen Page prefers a Saint Laurent suit to a pretty dress.Institutions evolve to conserve on transaction costs. Identity is an institution. Break down the institutions, deal with what follows.
It used to act as code for your sexuality but now things have changed. News that the biggest trend of the season is unisex – which, let’s face it, draws on some of the things I’ve mentioned, perhaps with a cleaner cut – has complicated things.