The 57 Bus

The 57 Bus

by

Dashka Slater

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The 57 Bus can help.
A gender identity that “doesn’t fit neatly into male/female categories.” Sasha is genderqueer. They “question” their gender identity and don’t feel strongly about being one gender or the other. Sasha describes that they are lacking “the file marked Gender” in their brain.

Genderqueer Quotes in The 57 Bus

The The 57 Bus quotes below are all either spoken by Genderqueer or refer to Genderqueer. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Macmillan edition of The 57 Bus published in 2017.
Part 1: Genderqueer Quotes

Most of us see gender and sexuality and romance as one big interconnected tangle of feelings—this is who I am, this is who I’m attracted to, this is who I love. But as Sasha began exploring the topic online, they found that some people had developed language for combing the tangle into individual strands. In these online conversations, the word sex referred purely to biology—the chromosomes, organs, and anatomy that define male and female from the outside. Gender was the word for what people felt about themselves, how they felt inside. Sexuality was the category for who you were physically attracted to. Romantic was the category for who you felt romantic attraction to. And there was a whole array of distinctions within each category as well. It was like a gigantic menu, with columns and columns of choices.

Related Characters: Sasha
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Becoming Sasha Quotes

Discovering the existence of genderqueer identity felt like discovering a secret room. All this time there had been just two rooms: male and female. Now it turned out there was another room—one that could be furnished however you wanted. The more time Sasha spent in the room, the more comfortable it felt. But the person who lived in this new room still had a boy’s name—Luke. By the second half of sophomore year, that name clearly no longer fit.

Related Characters: Sasha
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

“I don’t want for people to think of me as a he, and when they say he, not only does it reinforce in their brains that I am a he, it also reinforces in the brains of the people who are listening,” Sasha explains. “It doesn’t really directly affect me, at least to hear it—it’s more like, Huh, that’s not right. And when people use the right pronoun, it feels validating.”

Related Characters: Sasha (speaker)
Related Symbols: 1001 Blank White Cards
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Bathrooms Quotes

It was tough sometimes, watching Sasha navigate a world that didn’t even have a category for them. Occasionally, Debbie wished Sasha would ease up a little—resist correcting well-meaning relatives who said he instead of they, for example. But there was something admirable about it, too, Karl pointed out. Knowing how shy Sasha was, he admired Sasha’s newfound willingness to speak up, to stand out, to be seen.

Related Characters: Sasha, Debbie, Karl
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Andrew and the Binary Quotes

“Actually,” [Andrew] said, “I’m starting to identify a little bit as—I don’t even know the word I want to use yet. I like androgynous. I like genderqueer.” What held him back? Fear. Fear of other people’s judgements, their questions, their hostility, their fascination. “Because I fall neatly within the binary, I feel comfortable right now,” he explained. “But if I were to radically shift my appearance in a way that more androgynous, I don’t know how comfortable that would be for me. I mean, I’ve already been asked enough questions about my genitals. I’m just done with that.”

Related Characters: Andrew / Samantha (speaker), Sasha
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The 57 Bus LitChart as a printable PDF.
The 57 Bus PDF

Genderqueer Term Timeline in The 57 Bus

The timeline below shows where the term Genderqueer appears in The 57 Bus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: How Do You Know What Gender You Are?
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
...Sasha searched the web and found a community of people on Facebook who identified as genderqueer, which included an “aspect of questioning” their gender. This community of people used gender neutral... (full context)
Part 1: Genderqueer
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
The genderqueer community online has taught Sasha new “language for combing the tangle [of gender, sexuality, and... (full context)
Part 1: Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Romance: Some Terms
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Part 1: Becoming Sasha
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Binary Thought and Inclusive Language Theme Icon
To Sasha, genderqueer identity is “like discovering a secret room.” All their life they had only known male... (full context)
Part 4: Andrew and the Binary
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Discrimination and Social Justice Theme Icon
...dinner. Andrew tells Sasha that he is beginning to “identify a little bit as […] genderqueer.” He is still hesitant, though. As a gay transgender man, Andrew still fits neatly in... (full context)