COLUMN: Blundered by the binary

By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor Follow her at @Roxlobster

By Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

Spring semester is now in full swing, and with that comes the return of neighbors on campus and old friends. I knock on the door to my neighbor I haven’t seen all break, we hug and he lets me inside. My tank top exposes my fuzzy, thick arms, and we take a moment to flex for his female guests like a couple of guys from a 1950s muscle beach scene. It felt good to swoon the ladies, especially in a masculine way.

I am not a man, I don’t know what I am, really. All I know is I am comfortable in making the world uncomfortable and we all should be.

Last semester, after writing a column about the Kevin Spacey controversy, I was misinterpreted as coming out as a gay man. As much as some people found this humorous, I was shaken because I suddenly thought that my comfort of men’s clothing, scuffed army boots, and a beer clutched in my hand was pulled from underneath me. Underneath it all, I am biologically female, but that doesn’t mean I must be a “woman” or whatever comes with having a vulva.

Our society is fixated on a binary to help us feel secure about our gender roles. We strive so much to put one another into boxes, even from our childhood of boy-girl lines in elementary schools. I’m sure we have all had that moment of being in the supermarket, seeing someone whose gender is unclear, and it makes us nervous. Why do we care so much about something that doesn’t directly involve us?

The tinge of happiness of male coworkers and friends telling me “thanks man,” “dude.” etc. I cringe at the ideas of being called “girlie” or “sweetie.” I don’t skip a beat even when being misgendered as “sir” in my whites behind the meat counter. 

It’s much easier to stick to putting people in a boy/girl box, but easier does not mean better. We love to define people, it is in our nature, but we can pull away from it and recognize the person for being a person. 

The year is 2018 and I challenge those who live comfortably within gender norms to branch out if you want to. To make those around you “uncomfortable” at your own happiness. They will just have to learn to deal. It’s okay to be grey in a black and white binary, but I would much rather be flannel-patterned myself.

So, that’s really it. I am Roxanne, and I really don’t know who or what I want to be, but it’s not something I am afraid of anymore. I think one of the most important quotes to mention is from the film Good Burger, “I’m a dude, he’s a dude, she’s a dude, we’re all dudes, hey!”