Tag Archives: gender bending


7 Aug

i went shopping yesterday, which turned out to be very exciting.  i found two dresses and two skirts ~ the dresses are the kind of casual elegance that i was looking for about this time last year and not finding.  They flatter my figure, making me look a bit slimmer than i am, so i was delighted.  The skirts are short and flippy and perfect for COPE, which is coming soon.

Last night i went out for dinner with Ms Constance, her slave Drew, and some other people from the community.  Went to the munch, and went to this bar, where i saw my first professional drag queen show.  Very different from the amateur benefit i went to last week, in some ways.

Watching people who are cross-dressing stirs some kind of odd feelings in me.  Whether it’s the professionals with their wigs and fancy outfits, or a couple of young female friends of mine, who have cut all their hair and dress to appear male, who practice gestures and mannerisms that are stereotypically male.    

Gender bending.  They talk about sexual identity not being binary, that it’s on a continuum.  i have some trouble wrapping my mind around that idea.  i don’t know why.

For sure, i was raised with the idea of binary sexes.  You “are” either male or female, not something in between.   In fact, gender roles were pretty binary, back in the dark ages of the late 50’s and early 60’s.

You acted like a girl, or you acted like a boy, and while one could act like the opposite sex, it was seen as ~ wrong.  Against nature, really.

And really, i guess there are people who still think that way.  When i think about the toy store aisles ~ the rows of toys that are pink, and the rows that are brown and green, maybe blue, or bright primary colors.  Clearly, clearly the pink are girl toys and the rest are boy toys.

The scientific toys, the problem solving games ~ those are in the “boy toys” aisles.  

Of course girls can play with them, and theoretically boys can play with the pink toys.  But they know at a very early age that they’re crossing the gender line.

There is a series of books for children – The Chronicles of Prydain ~ that i dearly love.  When my kids were little, the covers were white with multi-colored, fairly pastel, pictures.  When i went to buy them for my granddaughter, they’d changed the covers.  Now they’re dark colors, browns and greens.

i bought them for her, and when she opened them, of course she did the obligatory thank-you’s – she was maybe 5 at the time, and raised properly, of course, so she thanked me nicely.  And then she said, “But – why did you get me boy books?”


Not just boy toys, but boy books?

When i think about all that, i think that maybe my ideas about male/female are just as antiquated and wrong thinking as people who believe in girl toys and boy toys.

My friends who practice “gender bending” in its most interesting form shift from “male-presenting” to “female-presenting” and back again, apparently at whim.    A couple of them prefer that you not use male or female pronouns when referring to them, which makes talking about them a challenge.  

It seems artificial to me, i don’t quite get it.  i think i am very much at the female end of the continuum, if there is one, and truly can’t imagine myself male.  

But i have traits that are masculine, at least in the Jungian sense.  And i was raised with the idea, and totally believe, that i’m capable of everything that a man is, unless it requires physical strength.  And notice the way that idea is presented – the assumption that i am measured by and need to live up to the male standard.

When i think about these things, i’m grateful to my gender bending friends, and hope that they are pushing the pocket of what’s normal and accepted to the point that we’ll be more open to accepting the strength and beauty of everyone.

i had a client once who was a drag queen, lost her insurance in mid sex-change process, and was caught betwixt and between sexes.  She was an amazing person, and i learned so much from her.  And still i’m clueless to really understand how this all works. 

You know, i was raised, as most of us are, with the idea of God as “He.”  My mother taught me that God was spirit, not male or female.  But all the images of God i knew were male.  

The church i go to now includes feminine images of God in our worship, like the nun who recently came under scrutiny for writing about the feminine aspects of divinity.  Before i started going to church where i do,that wouldn’t have meant anything to me, i would have told you it didn’t matter if God was presented as male.

But the idea of God as our Father and Mother shocked me and opened me to ways of relating to God that i had never known before.  Allowed me to see God and connect spiritually in ways i had not known were possible.  

So i’m watching the drag show last night, and all these thoughts are there, not clearly formulated, but just floating in my mind.    The show was beautiful and the performers are ~ powerful, i think, and poignant.  i watch the audience, fascinated by our fascination with the show.

And maybe that’s all i can really do ~ watch and learn.