“I wouldn’t mind having a mustache to twirl,” says S.E. Smith, who likes to be referred to with the pronoun “ou” instead of she or he and her or him – and prefers seeing ou name in lowercase.
As SF Gate reports, “Smith was female-assigned at birth but doesn’t like to be viewed as a woman. But “male” doesn’t fit either. Smith identifies as “genderqueer,” a word whose definition lacks consensus, but is broadly described as someone who “does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both or a combination of male and female genders.”
“What does genderqueer look like? To Smith, who is 29 and divides time between Fort Bragg and Berkeley, expressing ou gender can mean slicking ou hair back, binding ou chest and sliding into a suit. And it can mean “dressing up in floofy things and heels,” as ou wrote for the website xoJane, where ou works as its social justice editor.
“In that article, Smith wrote that ou “felt a growing sense of wrongness” starting in elementary school, when sent out to play with girls. “I wanted to be with the boys; I wanted to be a boy – but not exactly.” Smith’s eureka moment struck in college when ou got in with a crowd of transgender people. “It’s OK not to be a girl or a boy, there’s a word for that. You’re genderqueer,” said a friend. Continue reading “Non-binary gender roles”