Unapologetic: Bending Gender Until It Fits … Perfectly
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
You don’t like having to switch up your pronouns when you think of the complexities of gender? Well, Jax Quinn wants you to think again.
By Viviane Feldman
Jax Quinn grew up in the suburbs of Greensboro, North Carolina, playing with friends, riding her bike and shooting BB guns. She felt like “one of the guys” and never questioned her gender identity until moving to New York City to pursue photography.
While working a summer job on Fire Island, a well-known queer community, Jax was dressed in drag by a performer “on a whim.” She instantly felt “excited and alive” in a way she never had before. The drag represented a shift in how she saw herself. Every weekend after that night, Quinn tried to find a way to dress in drag again, attempting to recreate that initial experience.
Quinn exudes security and calmness, but her life is filled with daily anxieties. Having presented herself as a straight White man for most of her life meant that she didn’t have to think twice about stepping out into the world. The world would accept her. Since coming out as a transgender woman, it’s been different.
I mean, gender is fun, I don’t want to get rid of gender.… I want to be a girl.
“I suddenly had to figure out how to cope with not feeling safe and liked, always looking over my shoulder wondering if somebody’s about to start yelling at me or, like, threaten me or what’s going to happen to me or what people are thinking of me or why they’re looking at me,” she says. “I never had to deal with that and suddenly that’s my life every day that I leave the apartment.”
Quinn is now helping others by using her social media presence to express her ideas on identity and gender. “I mean, gender is fun. I don’t want to get rid of gender.… I want to be a girl, I don’t want girls to not exist,” she says. “But I just think the way that we see it and the constructs we have about what it means to be a man or what it means to be a woman are these awful prisons that are hurting all of us.”