Have you seen this thing going around right now? Where someone distills certain qualities of their personality and culls different characters from popular media to illustrate what they’re all about? (Or, they just relate with certain characters, or they meant a lot at a certain point in growing up, etc. …)
It was a fun mental exercise while I was working last Friday – I started thinking about what if I participated? The first thought felt like a no-brainer: Ziggy Stardust!! Androgynous, flamboyant, theatrical, other-worldly… Over the weekend, my spouse suggested Ed Wood (who actually was a real person, but seems like such a caricature in the film by Tim Burton) or Edward Scissorhands, both of whom seemed like they could fit. My super-close friend once compared me to Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle, so that also crossed my mind.
But I was thinking, I would like to pick someone who is openly non-binary. And I was stumped. I though and thought and thought some more. I started to feel like, OK, well if not non-binary, then at least gender-ambiguous. The character of Sally from Third Rock From the Sun came to mind. I loved that show as a teenager. The four main characters are aliens who inhabit the bodies of a “family” in order to study Earthlings. Sally is a macho military-type stuck in the body of a feminine model-type. Humor ensues. But then I honed in on Harry, the “uncle”? who is forever clueless. Which, might not be apparent from this blog, but if you knew me in real life, you’d realize that a lot of times, I just don’t get it. Like, seriously. I do not get it.
So, yeah, Harry stuck out (and plus he wore an awesome jacket a lot of the time, in the show). But I was still stumped on the gender-identity aspect of who I am. So, I decided to subvert it, and came up with this:
It’s not all grim though: there is representation out there. It’s just super obscure, at this point. And I have great hopes for the (nearish) future.
For now though, here’s an extremely, incredibly thorough bibliography of all things non-binary, created by Charlie McNabb, maybe about a year or so ago. This document is in-process: you can suggest edits and new entries!
The most well known entries I could spot were:
– Pat, from Saturday Night Live, 1990-1994. Bleccccchhhhhhhh!!!
– A character from the film, Shortbus, 2006. I need to see this film again; it’s been too long!
– A Star Trek episode from 1992. From Charlie’s archives: “The Enterprise encounters a humanoid race called J’naii that is androgynous. Riker becomes close with J’naii pilot Soren, who reveals that she identifies as female, but is closeted because her people think that gender is a perversion. When their affair is discovered, Soren is forced to undergo “psychotectic therapy” to convert her to theproper genderless state. Although this episode is an allegory for gay rights, the gender neutrality is interesting and rare for the time.” I need to seek this out, just for this plot line!!!
Anybody got any other examples out there?!?