One thing that makes me particularly proud to be a part of the Goth community is the fact that Goth folk as a whole are very accepting of all-comers, and are, in my opinion, much less likely to be judgmental or “phobic” (I really hate the use of the word “phobic,” in cases when what is really meant by it is “prejudiced”) about people who do not conform to binary gender norms or society’s expectations of the male or female presentation.
I have a couple of good friends who have transitioned, covering both directions, ie, male to female and female to male, and while I’ve tried to be inclusive of TG people before in my posts, I have yet to dedicate an entire post to trans and agender Goths, so I think it’s about time that I rectified that.
Let’s get the terms straight before we begin
So let’s get started with the correct meaning of the words transgender (also known as TG or trans), agender, and other commonly used terms.
First of all it is important to note that people who do not identify with the gender assigned to them by their physical anatomy at birth may use a variety of different terms to refer to themselves with, and to describe their own gender identity, and so there is not really such a thing as a catch-all trans 101 cheat-sheet that fits all sizes. However, some commonly recognised basics include:
- Transgender or TG is usually the term used to refer to a person who feels that their gender identity does not match their born physical anatomy. This can be further divided down into terms including transsexual, meaning a person whose gender identity is the opposite of their physical gender, which may or may not include physically altering their anatomy and appearance by means of surgery or hormone treatments to bring their physical anatomy more in line with their gender identity.
- Transvestite people, on the other hand, are usually classed as people who like to dress in what is traditionally considered to be the clothing styles of the opposite sex, but who still identify with the gender that matches their born physical identity.
- Agender refers to a person who does not identify as either male or female, while genderqueer people tend to draw from both genders, without neatly fitting into either the male or female pigeonholes.
- Bigender people may move between typically male and female gender roles, and/or class themselves as dual gender.
- There are about as many other descriptives as there are people in the world as well, and should it become pertinent, you should ask the person that you are speaking to how they identify, and how they wish to be referred to in terms of gendering.
- The vast majority of trans people are correctly referred to as the gender that they present as, and so a trans woman would be referred to as “she” while a trans man would be referred to as “he.”
- Some people may prefer to be referred to in gender-neutral terms, using words like their/they rather than his/hers or he/she.
- Cis-gender refers to a person whose physical anatomy and gender identity match, by the way.
I am more than aware whilst writing this that as a cis-gender person myself, I may not be the best person to explain all of this, and am more than open to correction from those who know better.
I would also advise everyone to check out this YouTube vid by Autumn Asphodel, regarding her experiences of being a TG lesbian Goth woman:
So anyway, I tend to feel, and my TG Goth friends agree, that there are a reasonably good range of clothing and styling options for non-gender-binary people in the Goth world-or at least, compared to the mainstream.
Because a lot of the stars of Goth history have presented with an alt or experimental styling themselves, with androgyny, punk and glam all playing their parts, trans and agender Goths are generally widely accepted by other Goths, as well as having better access to Goth shoes and clothes in shapes and sizes to fit them, with many of the best respected Goth footwear and clothing brands such as Demonia offering footwear in sizes going from a 2 up to a 14 across many of their styles.
Makeup for Goths also segues nicely into gender role androgyny, experimentation and no one batting an eyelid at people of any gender wearing makeup, as the posters in this discussion thread about transitioning and Gothing on the Susan’s Place TG resource board demonstrates. Further info-sharing on Goth brands and looks for trans women, who may be broader and taller than cis women, can be found here.