Genderqueer Quotes in The 57 Bus
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”