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These Celebs Are Pushing The Concept Of Gender Further Than Ever Before And That Is Something To Celebrate

ricodalasam / allaboutvalentina / Instagram

Non-binary individuals, also known as genderqueer, encompasses a spectrum of gender identities that escape the traditional definitions of masculine and feminine. In short, their gender identity falls outside the man/woman gender binary, outside cisgender paradigms (cisgender refers to a person whose personal identity and gender both correspond to their birth sex). For years, genderqueer folks were forced to live in the shadows, either due to conservative social norms or due to lack of awareness of this identity.

Recently, a group of celebs have come out as non-binary and we think that’s fabulous. We can think, for example, of Australian model Ruby Rose (remember their steamy affair with Piper in “Orange is the New Black”? Just this month “Queer Eye”hairstylist extraordinaire Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary. He told OUT magazine: “The older I get, the more I think that I’m nonbinary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman. I don’t really — I think my energies are really all over the place. Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I’m here for it. I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It’s this social construct that I don’t really feel like I fit into the way I used to. I always used to think ‘Oh, I’m like a gay man,’ but I think any way I can let little boys and little girls know that they can express themselves and they can like be.” This pretty much sums up what genderqueer identity is all about.

Because we celebrate identities of all forms, here are some genderqueer POC stars that make us proud and happy! Some of them have identified as genderqueer while others have broken the paradigms of cisnormativity. Bien por ellos, muy bien!

Rico Dalasam, the Brazilian rap dynamo

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This Brazilian rap artist and former hairdresser has taken his genderqueer identity to powerful lyrics of political resistance. He told Vice: “All the marginal communities I’m a part of—young, black, gay—all of these identities are forced to be ashamed by the oppressor. But I’m the potential of resistance.” With a career that started in 2014, Rico Dalasam has achieved success thanks to his high couture looks and remorseless combative attitude.

Bad Bunny, the boricua marvel

Credit: badbunnyofficial / Instagram

Bad Bunny wears long nails and jewelry that would commonly be associated with a feminine aesthetic. As we have reported, he is unbothered by those who criticize his non-binary moda. He identifies as a straight man but finds inspiration in the queer community. He has talked about his fashion choices in a GQ interview: “There’s people that appreciate what I do; there’s people that criticize it,. There’s people who say, ‘Thank you for sticking up [for us], thank you for defending [this].’ There’s others that say I’m an opportunist.” Be what it may, Bad Bunny is challenging the role of masculinity in urban culture and in a musical genre, reggaeton, that is often criticized for its often sexist lyrics.

Valentina, global drag phenomenon

Credit: allaboutvalentina / Instagram

“I identify as nonbinary,” Valentina told Out in an interview. “I don’t completely feel like a man, I don’t completely feel like a woman. I feel like a goddess. I feel like I’m my own gender.”

The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” superstar is one of the most recognizable faces in the drag world. We are so proud of the Latino representation Valentina has been able to bring to the drag world.

Chaska Sofia a.k.a DJ Precolumbian, the amazing Peruvian music powerhouse

Making it in the electronic music scene is not easy, and much less so if you are a genderqueer Peruvian DJ. Bue Chaska Sofia has played in the creme de la creme of the London underground scene. They told the magazine Electic Llama: “I feel like I identify more as a woman now; I’ve been transitioning for almost five years. I like the term ‘genderqueer’ because it challenges not just sexuality, but also gender.”

Aja, bruja extravaganza

Credit: ajathekween / Instagram

Aja’s experience coming to terms with her gender identity was a long one.

“When I was 18, I actually lived as a trans woman for almost a year,” Aja told Them. “I thought I was trans, and then I learned through the education of the queer community about being non-binary, genderqueer, and all these different [identities]. I realized that I do feel like a woman, but I feel comfortable in my body. I don’t feel the need to change anything. I don’t feel the need to appear more feminine to society’s standards.”

Amandla Stenberg, from “The Hunger Games” to queer advocate

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This amazing African-American young actress openly uses they/them as pronouns. She came out as non-binary on Tumblr (before she came out to her family!), by writing: “I honestly don’t know… I mean they/them makes me feel comfortable but I know that the media and the general populace that follows me will critique it/not understand which makes me feel sad and almost more uncomfortable. So I guess she/her for now”. Not in the cisgender closet anymore, dear Amandla! 

Jaden Smith, the prodigal son

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The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith first gained notoriety regarding his non-gendered persona in 2016, when he started using women’s clothing. Even though he identifies as a straight man, Jaden has become an ally of genderqueer individuals in that he epitomizes the rejection of constrictive gender norms. Good for him. When he was criticized for wearing dresses, he tweeted: “If I Wanna Wear A Dress, Then I Will, And That Will Set The New Wave… -JADEN SMITH #ICON.” 

Liniker Barros, the Brazilian soul star

Credit: linikeroficial / Instagram

Samba and Latin rhythms find a nice home in the tender voice of this musical prodigy. Liniker is the lead singer if the band Liniker and the Caramelows, and many of their lyrics focus on the joy and tribulations of those who are not cisgender. They told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Why should I wear jeans and a T-shirt and present myself as just a voice? My body is political. I need to show my audience what I’m living.” Liniker is well aware of the fact that they represent a wider community. They told Now: “[My] visibility as a singer helps me occupy spaces that aren’t the usual ones for trans women. That representation is so important. Brazil remains a very transphobic, chauvinist, racist country, with a lot of hate speech. When a trans woman takes the stage, that alone is political.”

Angel Haze, rapping for freedom

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Born Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson, this rap artist identifies as pansexual and agender. Angel Haza has said: “I sound like four people when I get written about as ‘they.’ It drives me crazy. If you call me ‘him’ or ‘her’ it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t consider myself of any sex. I consider myself an experience.” Quite an interesting and revolutionary approach! Angel Haze used to date Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin. 

Jenny Shimizu, the norm-defying model

Credit: jennyshimizu / Instagram

This Asian-American model has defiedCredit: linikeroficial / Instagram the looks that are “acceptable” on the catwalk. With her short hair and fluid identity she defied the expectations of the fashion industry. She is rumored to have had a relationship with Madonna. A genderqueer style icon for the ages. She loves being called “handsome”, which says a lot about her genderless philosophy. 

Grace Jones, the queer icon

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During the 1980s, in the midst of the conservatism of the Reagan era, Grace Jones was a gender-bending phenomenon who became a queer icon. Jones was born in Jamaica and now, even being over 70, she is still a fashion pioneer. Long live Grace Jones, the patron saint of genderqueer! She said in her memoirs: “Those who demand that you conform the most to how they live are the ones who are the most scared and intimidated by life.” Preach!

READ: Marvel Is Bringing More LGBTQ Characters To The Universe

São Paulo Hosts First Pride Since Bolsonaro’s Election And The LGBTQ+ Community Took Over The City

Culture

São Paulo Hosts First Pride Since Bolsonaro’s Election And The LGBTQ+ Community Took Over The City

@ruuh_avlis / Twitter

Since Jair Bolsonaro assumed office as Brazil’s president on January 1, 2019, a lot has changed for the LGBTQ+ community of Brazil. In the past, Bolsonaro has publicly stated that he’d prefer his son to die than to be gay. During his winning campaign, he relied on anti-gay rhetoric to gain right-wing support. In April of this year, he told reporters that Brazil “can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism.”

São Paulo’s first gay pride parade since his election is set to prove him wrong. This month, the Brazil Supreme Court has criminalized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, much to Bolsonaro’s dismay, and the gays are celebrating.

Hundreds of thousands of queer people flooded the streets of Brazil’s largest city.

@rufusdowling / Twitter

There were nineteen moving stages with live performances by queer and allied artists that kept the world’s largest gay party going. Like many other LGBT parades, São Paulo aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots against police brutality in New York City.

These are the people that Bolsonaro refuses to accept or acknowledge.

@wesyvinicius / Twitter

The fact is that we’re queer and we’re here. The culture of Brazil has changed rapidly in the last 10 years. More and more LGBTQ+ rights have been secured while the evangelical community has grown 15 percent since 2000. A third of the country is now evangelical, which often translates into flagrant homophobia.

Brazilians were soaked up all sun and no hate this past weekend.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

The parade lasted all day June 24 and might have been the largest parade in the country’s history. With both victories to celebrate and growing hate to keep the community marching forward, there were plenty of reasons to show up.

Last month, the head of the nation’s HIV Prevention Task Force was fired for launching a campaign to educate transgender Brazilians about the deadly virus.

@arabellamartuni / Twitter

Acknowledging trans people in Brazil has become a fireable offense, and it’s not going to get better while Bolsonaro is in charge. Some politicians are even advocating to ban gender and sexual orientation diversity from being discussed in the classroom.

This is erasure and São Paulo isn’t having any of it.

@DivetePurple / Twitter

The city launched the use of new walking signals up and down the main street that feature same-sex couples in time for the celebration of PRIDE. Seeing ourselves in even the smallest ways is validating.

Bolsonaro has inspired bills that seek to define a family as an exclusively heterosexual relationship.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

That would limit LGBTQ+ folks from accessing health care, welfare benefits, and adoption abilities, and so much more. Of course, evangelicals are also pushing for a bathroom bill to go into effect.

Human rights watchdog Grupo Gay Bahia reports that 141 LGBT people have died because of hate crimes or suicide between January and May 15 of this year.

@cleytu / Twitter

That’s an average of one person every 23 hours. The LGBTQ+ community is in serious threat, especially as a toxic culture continues to brew in Brazil. Currently, 1 in 6 Brazilian politicians is evangelical (i.e. right-wing conservative).

Many signs at the parade affirmed to the community that God loves them.

@MidiaNINJA / Twitter

Too often, Latinos raised in religious households internalize homophobia for others and even against themselves. These kinds of messages are more powerful than heteros realize.

Bolsonaro refuses to include the LGBTQ+ community as a group protected by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights.

@FADASLGBT / Twitter

Bolsonaro has spoken to reporters about how the future will no longer look like boys playing with dolls. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls under Bolsonaro’s understandings of the words.

But at least we have glitter. 🌈 

@magerson / Instagram

Sorry, Bolsonaro. We have style, compassion, and wide open hearts, and you don’t. Must suck.

There was also a considerable intersection of gay pride and advocacy to release ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prison.

@fofunista / Instagram

He was convicted of money laundering and being bribed and sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Politicians ranging from Noam Chomsky to the Nobel laureate of Argentina to Bernie Sanders have advocated for his release. It’s been brought to light that Bolsonaro likely had a hand in denying Lula due process and a fair trial.

Happy Pride, Brazil!

@marciojmsilva / Twitter

Thank you for having the bravery to stand up to an administration that wants to erase you from existence.

READ: Pabllo Vittar Is The Superstar Brazilian Drag Queen The World Has Come To Love Because Of Their Unapologetic Persona

What PDA Is Like When You’re LGBTQIA+

Entertainment

What PDA Is Like When You’re LGBTQIA+

@brunalinzmeyer\ Instagram

Public displays of affection are the common little perks that come with being in a relationship. If you aren’t in a relationship, it can seem kind of mushy but anyone who’s coupled will tell you it’s awesome. Being able to casually hold their hand or lean in for a kiss helps to strengthen the bond you have with your partner. It’s small manifestations of the love they make you feel.

However, not everyone gets to experience this freedom in a relationship. If you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you know that PDA often works differently for you. It can be more rare — and more precious — because of our social climate. It can also be a validation of your love.

Safety is also something that often sets it apart from straight PDA. Around the globe, even here in the U.S. LGBTQ+ PDA can often be an act of bravery. Whatever the difference, it’s proof that you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community and that’s important.

We’ve gathered responses from LGBTQIA+ social media users and they gave us some incredible insights on acts of affection.

The need to cautiously avoid danger is one that straight people don’t often feel with PDA.

iStock

“I think that it’s been really hard for me to show any PDA to my girlfriend because there is a factor of ‘what if?’ And recently with so many hate crimes against POC in the LGBTQ+ I have been very cautious. It wasn’t until recently that I have been trying to go outside my comfort zone and hold my girlfriend hand or even put my head on her shoulder. I’m happy about my accomplishments in regards to being more open in public.” — @Angelina.vicenio

There is a trend of queer, femme-presenting PDA being devoured and monetized by outsiders. This writer shared the complexity she feels about this as a bisexual woman.

Swipe Life

“Now that I openly date women and femme-presenting folks, PDA is multi-layered. I still love it, but I can feel our kisses being consumed by cishet men in the vicinity. Sometimes, I can hear them whistling or calling their friends over to watch. I wish they knew that these moments aren’t for them. But queer women are so hypersexualized and fetishized that even seeing two of us on a date is perceived as an invitation.” — Gabrielle Noel, writer

PDA is a struggle if you or your partner aren’t publically out yet.

The Culture Trip

“I’m the mother of a gay son. His BF hasn’t come out yet and they can not show any type of PDA and that frustrates my son so much. They are always in the house and I feel so bad because they are missing out. I live in DC and my neighborhood has many gay couples. Love is love and wherever I go, if I hear someone speak negative about a gay couple showing affection, I shut it down immediately. I try and take my son and his BF to places where they can be themselves, but I also encourage them to be brave and to always stand up for who they are and what they deserve.” — @acro__iris__

When harrassed about PDA, abuse can run the gambit from passive mistreatment to aggressive actions.

NY Times

“Many people in my life don’t clock me as gay so I guess that counts? Once I was holding hands with a guy in downtown Riverside and got yelled “f-ggot” by some dude in a car. One time I was kissing my high school bf and my “friends” threw a hacky sack at our faces.” — @bruhjeria

This Twitter user reminds us that straight people don’t need safe places to be themselves — but LGBTQIA+ people do.

Queerty.com

“Unfortunately, it is hard to engage in minor public displays of affection (hand holding, hugging, small kisses) as a gay person due to mean stares and fears of being attacked. Pride is a safe space for me. Straight people don’t need that type of space to engage in PDA.” — @willygr8tweets

LGBTQIA+ couples are sometimes even forced to hold back during PRIDE — which should be a safe place.

The Culture Trip

“It’s a shame we still have to deal w people telling us we shouldn’t kiss or engage in pda at pride, at OUR safe space, bc it makes them ‘uncomfortable'” — @emmalejenkins_

However, allies and queer people alike still feel warm and fuzzy seeing LGBTQIA+ PDA.

Elite Daily

“Am I the only one who absolutely hates PDA but if it’s a gay/lesbian/queer couple i’m like ((((((-: <333” — @jaydee_cakess

This person reminded us that PDA is a universal right.

iStock

“‘U can be gay all u want but i don’t want to see two guys making out in public, ew’ PDA!!! IS!!! THE!!! SAME!!! DESPITE!!! WHO!!! IS!!! KISSING!!! WHO!!! WHY are two men different than a man and woman showing affection in public?” — @c_alexandraxo

Though there is still so much work to do, this Twitter user pointed out the progress the LGBTQIA+ community has seen.

OnABicycleBuiltForTwo.com

“#LancasterPride shows how far we’ve come. When I first moved here in ‘98, any same-sex PDA had to be checking all directions before gently brushing knuckles. Unless you were at the gay night at The Warehouse. Then you had to practically hump on the dance floor just to say hello.” — @RG_Bhaji

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