The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus

by

Dashka Slater

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The 57 Bus: Part 1: Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Romance: Some Terms Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Language is “evolving rapidly,” Slater writes, and because of this, it is important to “always adopt the language individuals use about themselves.” To that end, Slater offers a list of terms for gender, sex, and romance.
Slater’s insistence that others adopt this language encourages others to acknowledge and respect the LGBTQ community by using more inclusive language.
Themes
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Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
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Agender” is not identifying as either male or female, while “androgynous” is a “third gender that blends male and female characteristics.” “Gender fluid” people identify as both male and female, and if one is “cisgender,” their “gender matches their birth sex.” A person who is “genderqueer” does not “fit neatly into male/female categories,” and the term “intersex,” which is biologically having both male and female anatomy, has replaced the antiquated term “hermaphrodite.” To be “transgender” is to feel that one’s “gender is different from their birth sex.”
Slater’s list of gender terms provides readers with a deeper understanding of nonbinary gender. This list of terms overturns the idea that there are only two genders, and instead offers multiple genders across a spectrum that includes male, female, both, and neither. This list is more inclusive and better represents individuals like Sasha.
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Asexual” people are “not physically attracted to anyone,” and a “bisexual” person feels attraction to “both men and women,” Slater explains. A “cupiosexual” does not view others in a sexual way, “but is still interested in sex,” while someone who is “graysexual” only feels sexual attraction “occasionally.” “Heterosexuals” feel attraction for the opposite gender, and a “homosexual” is attracted to the same gender. A “pansexual” finds all genders “across the gender spectrum” attractive.
This list of terms underscores Slater’s argument that gender and sexuality are different and often unrelated. For example, Richard assumes that Sasha’s skirt means that they are homosexual; however, this is not the case. Sasha has very little interest in having sex with anybody, regardless of their gender, and Slater’s list of terms helps to understand this.
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Romance is an entirely separate category, and those who are “aromantic” don’t feel any romantic inclination. A “biromantic” is romantically drawn to both women and men, and a “cupioromantic” isn’t romantically attracted to anyone, “but is still interested in romance,” Slater says. To be “heteroromantic” is to be romantically attracted to the opposite gender, while “homoromantic” is to be romantically attracted to the same gender.  A “panromantic” is interested romantically in those “across the gender spectrum,” and a “quoiromantic” does not “understand the difference between romantic and platonic love.”
Slater’s list of terms also dispenses with the idea that sexuality and romantic inclination are one and the same. For example, Sasha’s “soul mate,” Nemo, is gender fluid and identifies as both a man and a woman. Nemo has zero interest in sex and identifies as asexual, but they still have a form of romantic attraction to Sasha. Nemo admits that their relationship is complicated, and it is not rooted in traditional notions of sex and romance.
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Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
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