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