I love the expressions “gender disobedience” and “gender disobedient” as alternatives to “gender non-conformity”. They are great for describing queerness and transness from the perspective of people who intentionally subvert gender norms.
This post is me google prospecting on the term “Gender disobedience” because I found no interesting results and thought the concept needed a homepage. I hope my thoughts on the subject are interesting to you, especially if you yourself happen to be gender disobedient. To read more about me and my particular gender check out About Jer and Gender.
In praise of gender non-conformity
If you are careful to do things expected of your gender, or just happen to, you are “gender conforming”. If you do things that aren’t expected of your gender, for any reason, you are “gender non-conforming”.
Gender non-conformity is an essential concept because it’s so unspecific about the reasons or details. It’s needed when you don’t know someone’s gender or gender presentation goals.
Many people identify as “GNC” as an identity or attribute, especially because it can describe both cis and trans people across all genders.
Gender non-conforming is also an important label for those who consider themselves cisgender, yet behave in ways associated with other genders.
The only thing I don’t like about “gender non-conforming”, for myself, is that it can also describe people who do it unintentionally, or naturally without any particular agency. I don’t just happen to be non-conforming, I put effort into my disobedience.
I am gender disobedient
I love “gender disobedient” as a label because it feels like the active form of non-conformity. Disobedience is something I do, not just something I am.
I reject the common gender system as it exists today, and I want to subvert it with my own style and behavior. I accept that the rules exist, but refuse to abide them.
Disobedience in other parts of life can be dangerous, and obeying is important for everyone’s safety, but when it comes to gender presentation, I think breaking the rules is safe and wholesome.
Not all rules were meant to be broken, but some of them must be.
Gender norms burden and oppress us.