I have an Obama pin on my bag. I love it when folks say to me, “Nice pin.” Because yes, it’s “nice,” but there’s nothing special about it. Really, in complimenting my pin, they are signaling to me that they support Obama too. That we’re on the same side. That we have this pretty big thing in common. It’s a coded linguistic twist.
Folks do that with regards to Q a lot. It’s a way to show that they support him or support me. I hear things like:
- He looks so great in those (“girly”) shoes.
- Q, that headband is so fabulously sparkly!
- I used to love to read books about fairies when I was your age.
- You can tell how great he feels in that outfit. It’s fabulous!
- Oh, you’ll have to borrow one of my necklaces one day. I think you’ll love it!
They do it in other ways too, like sending me websites that are related to Q and his self-expression. Or pointing out other gender-bending folks in the world. Or his teachers overtly talking about stereotypes in his class, knowing that’s a really empowering thing for him.
What I like the most about this is that it’s encoded. Not that someone saying, “I think that Q and his free expression of himself outside of gendered stereotypes” isn’t welcome. It is. REALLY welcome. But I also love hearing folks’ support in the more encoded ways. Like saying, “I like your button.” It’s a great signal, and a great show of support and compassion. And a cool way of listening to folks’ words as well.