Even when I was a boy, I wanted to be as pretty and maternal as Pepper LaBeija. I didn’t know what non-binary was. And Pepper LaBeija didn’t say, “I'm a non-binary person.” She probably would have said “trans” — or whatever language was there. No, you were beyond gender. You were a parent. You were a figure. You were razor-bumps and red lip. You were all of it. I was like: I want to be like that. I didn't have language for it. And to imagine how she didn't have language for it either.
Sometimes I believe my gender is the future. But I think I have to call it what it is, which is now. It's here. There are so many misdocumentations of non-binariness. Non-binary beings have been; but the language for us is limited. I feel like here and now are two resources I have to think about gender work — to locate it all as present, urgent. I can imagine futures for my gender, but I also don’t need to. I can hope things are different for gender in the world, but my gender is this. Is alive. Is black. Is here. Is now.
Until recently gender non-conformity was only represented as white. Outside of the occasional drag queen, the only folks allowed to rupture gender were straight white men “expressing” themselves or white women trying to get ahead. Thankfully, we have rappers, writers, actors, activists & more able to live their complete selves. Our families, culture, language is so flexible & resilient despite centuries of oppression. For a people who were never afforded the safeties of gender, we need to more ardently push back on the parameters. We need to see the needs of ALL Black people as urgent, we need to dislocate the ways limited privilege positions us against each other. We need to see each other as whole & living. We need to imagine ourselves more free.
↑"interview: jayy dodd". fields magazine. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2020. I’m not a trans woman, I’m a trans femme, and I’m a trans person, because I am transitioning. I’m going to change my body, but womanhood is not my end goal. I just want to be like a non-binary, whatever post-gender word we’re going to choose today. I’m not going to be a woman, but I’m going to be a more feminine being.