This post has taken me a lot more longer to complete I thought it would. I do know what I want this post to be, that is highlight a couple of things I spotted on the internet where the subject matter is worth highlighting. What I’ve been wracking my brain over is how to highlight it. I’ve found it hard to get past the fact that these links come from a source I normally wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole: British tabloid journalism, whose modus operandi is to write sensational, eye-catching content with little or no subtlety regarding subject matter.
At times, the British tabloids’ lurid approach extends to simple profiles of everyday Brits (“What these people are up to will BLOW YOUR MIND!”). Knowing that, you do sense that the writers and editors of the Daily Mirror set to using that approach in the two stories I’ll highlight here. Still, however, once you read between the lines (easy to do when most of the paragraphs are one sentence long), you do sense the humanity in their subjects — two individuals who classify themselves as bi-gender (that is, exhibiting two distinct gender personas). So, putting any reservations about tabloid journalism aside, let’s start with the gentleman shown below:
That’s Ryan, with his girlfriend, Krystal, standing behind him. As The Daily Mirror trumpets in an article that ran about a year ago, Ryan has a big decision to make every morning when he opens up his wardrobe: [Insert breathless British reporter accent here] “Should he pick out men’s clothing or go for something frilly and feminine? That’s because Ryan lives a bizarre life as bi-gender!” (Yes, the Mirror used “bizarre” in the headline. See, I told you the British tabloids can be tawdry.)
That’s Ryan as “Ria” in the above photo. As he indicates in the article, Ryan first had impulses to wear women’s clothing in his early teens. By the time he left home for college and started dressing up more, he started to gain a higher comfort level en femme. It was when he also realized something: He felt comfortable as both genders, as well as the comfort of switching between the two. He opened up about his bi-gender status to his parents, as well as his more understanding friends… and the woman who would become his current girlfriend, Krystal, who recognized him as Ria online. (Krystal herself identifies as bisexual in the video accompanying the article.)
Ryan has separate personas for his separate genders: He’s more slouchy in male mode (typical guy *LOL*) but presents Ria as more effeminate and dainty. Ryan has no desire for surgery to make himself a woman (hormones are an option, though), and his relationship with a supportive Krystal is “the perfect mix” (Krystal’s term). You can’t help but feel happiness towards the two over Krystal accepting Ryan and Ria unconditionally, as well as Ryan’s comfort level as bi-gender. Support and self-confidence can be a wonderful thing for any crossdresser or bi-gender.
Ryan/Ria isn’t the only person the Mirror has profiled who identifies as bi-gender. This profile of the person seen below ran last January, a few months after the Ryan/Ria piece ran, also falls into that two-gender category (and yes, both pictures below are of the same person):
This is Layla, who hails from South Wales and is, as the Mirror trumpets, [reinsert breathless British reporter accent here] “living a unique double life both as a man — and a woman!” (“Unique”? But you just did a… *sigh* Tabloids…) Anyway, Layla was born as female and for a time in her teens considered herself a female-to-male transgender. But she missed her feminine side and gradually realized she was bi-gender. That’s how she identifies today, dressing and presenting herself as female one day, yet turning around the next day and don a men’s shirt and tie to present as “Layton.”
Just as with Ryan/Ria, Layla has different personalities to go with her gender presentations; she can be quiet yet giggly as Layla, yet can become fiery and outspoken as Layton. Whom she’s attracted to is also influenced by her gender presentation: Layla is attracted to boys, Layton to girls. And despite the “constant battle” (her words) with gender identity, Layla has gradually accepted both of her gender sides (Layla and Layton), and is working to raise awareness of bi-genderism, as well as help people who have issues with gender as well as sexuality.
Something one notices in the photos accompanying the Mirror article is that Layla presents more than two sides of her dual genders. In becoming Layton, she can wear a short male hairstyle and even add facial hair in addition to the men’s clothing and binding of breasts (which can sometimes hurt, she admits). As Layla, she also sometimes sports different clothing and hair styles, from spiked brunette to curly brown to stylish blonde.
I do admire Layla — both sides of her — for finding her true self; it’s been difficult for her at times, including not everyone being understanding or accepting (from mates to employers), but she seems to have gained comfort as herself and as Layton. Style wise, I also admire her for adding variety to how she presents herself to the world; though she’s bi-gender, it’s as if she likes to not present herself as the same two people twice (I hope that makes sense to you, the reader).
Though one may think Layla/Layton and Ryan/Ria are gender fluid, there’s a clear difference between that identification and being bi-gender. One who is gender fluid can go at various points in the gender range between male and female, blending at various points when they so desire. A person who is bi-gender, however, tends to make clear differences in their male and female appearances, as shown in these Mirror articles. With the Ryan/Ria article, the Mirror had the smarts to include a great YouTube video explaining what bi-genderism is. I’ve embedded that video at the end of this article, as it explains the definition so very well.
And while we’re at it, let’s not forget that people who are bi-gender, just as those who are gay or lesbian or trans or crossdressers, are not freaks of nature. Some of us may be tabloid material (as Layla/Layton and Ryan/Ria are), but we are still human beings no matter our identification.