While model Rain Dove may have been born as a female, that didn't mean gender ideals were part of the package. And Dove is ready to let the world understand why.
"I'm not transgender because gender doesn't exist in my book," the self-proclaimed gender capitalist says in a recent video published by Allure. "I'm not transsexual because I love the body I have, my state of being is just unique."
And while many of us may have followed Western gender norms as children, that wasn't the case for Dove.
After dealing with lice, their mom decided to shave their head, but was sure to put them in a dress so others wouldn't question whether they were a girl or a boy. Nonetheless, the androgynous figure, who went by middle name Danielle at the time, was still taunted by peers and was eventually dubbed "Tranny Danny."
At first, they reveal that they simply didn't understand what this meant, and thought classmates believed they were into trains. But once they realized that classmates was referring to them as transgender, it was time to do a little self-reflection.
"Why don't I pass, what does this mean?" they once asked themselves.
Fortunately, in middle school, Dove gained some clarity.
"In seventh grade I discovered that there was a difference between gender and sex," they recall. "Gender is a state of being. Mannerisms, cultural teachings, what type of clothing you're wearing, the way that you speak, the way that you hold yourself, the type of energy that you feel in your body."
"Gender is a state of being. Mannerisms, cultural teachings, what type of clothing you're wearing, the way that you speak, the way that you hold yourself, the type of energy that you feel in your body."
Similarly, fellow model Ruby Rose also came forward about being gender fluid back in early February.
"Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you're at one end of the spectrum or the other. For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender," the "Orange Is The New Black" star told TODAY host Willie Geist. "I'm not a guy; I don't really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I'm somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like having the best of both sexes."
As for Dove, the gender bender says that while they feel most empowered when dressing feminine, comfort comes from masculine attire.
Either way I dress- they see red. But I keep walking because #MyStepsWill make change. Same person, same shoes, same place, different treatment. Don't dress like them for them. Dress like you for you- and the right people for you will walk with you too. (To join the revolution don't FOLLOW my page- join my page. Let's make beauty bigger than clothing.) Photo by @nomifoto #ballstothewallstreet #gendercapitalism #lovewins #backfromthebreak #genderfluid #lgbt #qpia #h #tomboy #ladyinred #clothingisntaprison
"When I dress masculine, I have the privilege of looking like a white, young, decent-looking guy," they told Allure. "People just feel comfortable because they know what that is. When I walk around in a dress, if I try to walk around as confidently, people see it as like aggressive. I've had people follow me home. I've been mugged once. So I actually feel more empowered when I wear a dress, but I feel a lot more comfortable [in a masculine outfit] because I don't have to worry about it and I can focus on what I'm actually here for."
And in terms of preferred gender pronouns, Dove says they could care less what they're classified as — so long as the other person is being respectful.
"For me, a pronoun is a sound, and what I'm listening to in that sound ... [is respect], and I'm listening for intent," they say. "So if you want to address me and you're doing it respectfully and you're calling me "him" or "they," you can call me "it," I don't care. As long as what you're trying to say is something that's respectful."