JM Barrie described Peter as a “betwixt-and-between”…not quite a bird and not quite a boy.
As of yesterday, it occurred to me that this description also makes a nice gender identity.
However, I don’t subscribe to the belief that there is merely ‘male’ and ‘female’ at two extremes. So when I say betwixt-and-between, in my mind I’m seeing layers and folds and colors and a variety of dimensions. As opposed to:
Between doesn’t have to mean between two. Why do humans tend to view complex topics like gender, politics and morality this way? Even cats and dogs, soft and hard, red and green, should not be done the disservice of being viewed simply as “opposites.”
So celebrate your betwixt-ness with me!
P.S. The quote “betwixt-and-between” is not from Peter & Wendy but from The Little White Bird, the first time Peter appeared in print.
In the book, Peter is confused why he doesn’t seem to be like the other birds. He’s an “awkward shape.” Naturally, this strikes a cord with me, having grown up feeling very awkward in my own body and not understanding how others could have a body they felt so free in.
I think there’s a lot of power to be found in reinterpreting the classics in a way which empowers those who have been underrepresented for so long.
A lot of people complain about queer people “reading too much into” straight relationships in books, movies, and TV. I think all that means is that we’re HUNGRY. Hungry for characters who are legitimately written with our experiences in mind, not characters which we have to tilt our heads sideways and squint to say “I can see myself.”
We’re so hungry that we’re willing to ship characters played by sexist and homophobic actors just so we can pretend we have representation.
Obviously, there are queer characters on TV. Many more than there used to be. But, unfortunately, they are still betwixt-and-far-between.