Gender euphoria through singing

Last weekend I went to my annual favorite event of the year – Geek Girl Con. There were lots of great workshops and panels about various fandoms such as Captain Marvel and about inclusivity in geek culture. But the highlight of the weekend for me was the Steven Universe Sing-Along.

I sat in a room packed to overflowing with kids and adults of all kinds who were all singing their hearts out to what is now well over an hour of collected songs from my favorite cartoon. And I realized as I was sitting next to a friend’s adorable kid that the way that I sing them is pretty unusual. I am all over the vocal range depending on the song. Some I sing very very low in my deep bass voice. And some I sing in their original alto or soprano ranges.

Being able to have such a huge range in my singing voice (and do it well) is such a euphoric thing for me. It is probably one of the biggest signs that I’m nonbinary because I love hitting the low, rumbly notes and I love singing way up high above even the tenor range. That ability has come from a lot of privilege around access to vocal lessons and coaching but it’s also from a lot of hard work to expand my high range over the years. And now that is all paying off and I get to sign just about anything I want (other than stunt soprano stuff).

I’m now in my second year of singing with an all-gender LGBTQ focused chorus. And it is so great to be in a Bass section made up of so many diverse genders. Where men aren’t even the majority some of the time. And to look across the faces of my choir and feel like I am with my family. There are so many loving and supportive people and they have shown up for me time and time again outside of choir too.

I am so glad that I’m singing again. And I’m really looking forward to the GALA Festival next July.

Building my first cosplay

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge Steven Universe fan. On the surface it appears to just be a kids cartoon but once you dive deeper you find out that it is a multifaceted show about complex emotional topics with an amazing story arch and fabulous queer and nonbinary representation. Rebecca Sugar, the show’s creator, has recently confirmed that she is a “nonbinary woman” (yes, those terms can co-exist) and that all the gems are too. But more importantly, Stevonnie, a character introduced in the first season, is one of the best representations of nonbinary gender anywhere on TV. I nearly squealed with delight when it was shown in a more recent episode that they grow facial hair and have to shave. Which confirmed what I’ve been thinking for awhile – that I need to make a Stevonnie cosplay outfit.

My favorite convention of the year, Geek Girl Con, is coming up next weekend in Seattle. It’s the only con I go to because it focuses on intersectionality in geek culture and isn’t too crowded for my anxiety. The last few years I’ve done some really basic bounding (simple outfits merely inspired by a character) costumes but this year I decided to go all out. I’ve been collecting costume pieces for awhile now including a Rose Quartz gem, a Steven Universe crop top, denim capris, and pink Converse with a star on the side.

This weekend I did some major crafting and creating the best parts of the costume – Stevonnie’s magical shield and Rose Quartz’s pink sword. I used a child’s metal sled as the base of the shield and after several failed attempts to get the paint to stick, figured out a way to paint it with the colors and patterns using a matte spray paint as the base. For the sword I used a cardboard base with a dowel in the middle covered in craft foam and held together with tape and hot glue. I’m not totally happy with the hilt but it’s my first attempt so it will do.

Cosplay

Come see me next weekend at the Seattle Convention Center and check it out! More photos to follow.

Gem Fusion

I don’t know how I’ve made it this long without gushing about Steven Universe! If you haven’t watched it yet you really should because it is THE best animated show on TV. It seems like a kids show at first but it has deep themes of queer representation, non-traditional families and gender roles, nonbinary characters, authentic relationship building skills, and self awareness.

As a nonbinary person I often feel like a gem fusion is the best way to describe what it is like to be me. Stevonnie, the nonbinary character who is a fusion of the titular Steven and his girlfriend Connie, is the most obvious analogy as it is a blend of their features, personalities, and genders meeting somewhere in the middle as a tall, attractive, dark haired androgyne.

But more often these days I find myself feeling like Garnet – a semi-permanent fusion between the volatile and aggressive Ruby and the prescient and peaceful Sapphire. They are both considered women but they represent very different ends of the gender presentation and behavior spectrum within femininity. Ruby wears pants and has a temper and personality that would typically be associated with masculinity. Sapphire wears a long dress, speaks softly, and is both kind and firm at the same time. Their relationship is a very obvious metaphor for queerness as the fusion of two different types of gems (as compared to two Rubies) is a taboo which results in them being shunned and hunted by the militaristic and colonizing Homeworld Gems.

While I could never aspire to be as cool and collected as Garnet herself, I really resonate with these two aspects of myself, the masculine and the feminine, blending together and co-existing in a single body while still being a woman. I’m much more of a lesbian than I want to admit, despite admiring some men physically, and the enduring romance between Ruby and Sapphire always gives me big feels. I hope that someday I can fully embody their values of flexibility, love, and trust in both myself and my relationships.