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Devon Christopher Adams

Mulling Over my Gender Identity

It’s been about three months since I came out about questioning my gender. For now, I’m most comfortable identifying as non-gendered. I don’t feel like I fit with the concept of being a woman or a man. This is quite freeing, and a source of insecurity. It’s also exhausting.

Self Portrait at Dawn by Jörg Reuter from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I’ve been paying more attention to my physical body – how I wish it looked, and how these thoughts fit into my gender identity. For the most part, I’m not a fan of my feminine curves. I’d rather see myself with muscle definition – especially vertical lines on my abs and striations on my shoulders – but still maintain a thigh gap. I’ve never been a fan of my own boobs. They serve no purpose and I wish they would shrink. I’d rather have muscular pecs than tits.

I wish I could pass as male or female and/or be so androgynous that strangers aren’t sure how to interact with me because of my unknown gender. It would give me a “blank slate” to play with. As it is, my dress varies widely day-to-day. In one week I wore a feminine top with a bound chest, a shirt and tie, and a dress and heels. I was also giddy when my new Starfleet uniform arrived – the red mini dress from the Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Despite my desire to have an androgynous shape, I think my hips will disclose my biological sex. Even before puberty, my hip bones stuck out, and now, I have curves that I fear can’t be slimmed through diet and exercise. And while I know I have a “good butt,” I prefer to keep it smaller, firmer, and lifted. Being curvaceous does nothing for me.

Note: these are my thoughts about myself. I feel no animosity towards the female shape on other people and U.S. standards for beauty.

Image from Last Year’s Junkyard Photoshoot by Devon Christopher Adams (Used with Permission)

It became obvious that I want to be more androgynous when I was invited to the annual Junkyard Photoshoot. I went last year and had a blast. And I enjoy being a model – getting to show different emotions and aspects of my personality. When I model, I always want to feel my inner strength.

But this year, I declined the invitation. This is an open photoshoot where models and photographers get to show up, have fun reign of the junkyard to do almost anything we want. Most of the models are women, and many of them use the setting to pose in lingerie or less – very over-the-top sexy. (And a lot of female models do this type of modeling. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just not for me.) I’d rather be in jeans and a tank top, feeling more like Wolverine than a centerfold.

I decided not to go for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin. Questioning my gender and other events exacerbated my depression, so I didn’t feel strong and confident. It wasn’t a good space to be in for going into an artistic setting where there would be lots of people I’d never met before.
  2. I was afraid of feeling rejected by photographers who wouldn’t want to work with me. (I know, they can go fornicate with themselves, but easier said than done when I’m feeling vulnerable.)

I’m still mulling over lots of different thoughts about gender identity and how I interact with a mostly two-gendered society. The more I learn about myself, the more I realize that many social norms don’t apply to me.

The Sky’s Not Falling – It’s Just Raining

So it’s raining in Phoenix. To the rest of the world, the fact that it’s raining is no big deal, but here it is headline news. Headline news. And I’m not talking about flood damage or people needing to be rescued – just the fact that it’s raining is big news around here. Just like we take pictures of temperature readings when it’s really hot and really cold, people in Phoenix are posting pictures of puddles! Seriously!

I rain! by Devon Christopher Adams, used with permission

I rain! by Devon Christopher Adams, used with permission

Why is it big news when it rains in Phoenix? It doesn’t happen here very often, but a lot of us are transplants from places like Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It snows there! I lived in Oregon for almost six years. When it rains there we don’t even get out umbrellas, we just pop our hoods up and keep walking. I think it’s so funny that people who spent decades living in weather won’t go outside if it’s sprinkling once they move here.

Since we have so many transplants in Arizona, it’s very strange that people seem to forget how to drive in the rain once they move here. There seems to be two types of rainy day drivers – those who keep speeding and are risk of hydroplaning at any moment and those who drive less than 5 mph. True story: I was the third car back at a light during a rain storm and it took three light cycles to get through the intersection because the people in front of wouldn’t move.

Whatever happened to “ease off the gas but keep driving?” I will give Phoenix drivers some leeway because they don’t use the street paint here that shines through water so it can be really hard to see you lane lines. I prefer not to drive on the freeway during the rain, but if I’m on a six-lane street and there are only a handful of cars on the road, I think we can maneuver around each other safely enough.

The one legitimate quibble about Phoenix and rain is the flooding. Now, I’m not talking about the morons who need to be rescued because their car floated off when they drove through a flooded street. (Enjoy that $20,000 helicopter bill.) I’m talking about the fact that our city was constructed without any thoughts about rain so it floods literally five minutes after it starts raining. We all know it doesn’t rain much in the desert, but we have monsoons. A lot of the time when it rains, it pours. The rain falls so hard I regularly walk around the house to make sure the skylights are holding.

So what are the take-home lessons:

  • Don’t freak out because it’s raining. You know how to drive in this stuff.
  • If you’ve forgotten how to drive in the rain, stay off the road.
  • If you can’t see the road, it’s too deep to drive through the water.
  • If the fact that it’s raining is the highlight of your day, you need a hobby. Unless you’re a storm chaser – then be careful out there.

Is That Legal – Apple Store Flash Mob

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice. It is simply my experiences, opinions, and stuff I looked up on the internet.

(cc) Devon Christopher Adams

This past weekend, Improv AZ organized a flash mob that invaded the Apple Store in Scottsdale. Our friends at Brand X Custom T-Shirts made ours shirts that resembled the Apple Store employees’. Each participant wore a royal blue shirt with a heart on it that had a leaf coming out of the top and a bite taken out of the side. Our group of about 30 participants walked into the store in small groups and proceeded to browse around for about 30 minutes, looking at and buying merchandise. We never represented ourselves as Apple employees, but if someone mistook us for an employee, we answered their question if we could or directed them to an Apple employee. If anyone asked us what we doing, we denied any implications that were acting in conjunction with each other. At the end of our invasion, we walked out calmly, took some pictures in front of the store, and left.

Did We Trespass?
No. The Apple Store is open to do business with the public. In legal terms, we were invitees. If we were asked to leave and we refused, then we would have been trespassing.

But You Weren’t There To Shop . . .
And how many times have you gone into a store just to look around with no intention of buying anything? At least one person in our group purchased something and several others looked at products that they were possibly interested in buying in the future. Additionally, we did not do anything that interfered with other shoppers’ ability to shop or employees’ ability to work.

Did We Commit Disorderly Conduct? Unlawful Assembly?
No. You have to behave pretty badly for those charges to stick. Peacefully walking through a business that is open to the public in matching shirts is not illegal. We weren’t rioting, fighting, disrupting business, making unreasonable noise, or refusing a lawful order to disperse.

Our Shirt vs. Their Shirt (cc) Devon Christopher Adams

Did We Commit Trademark Infringement?
Apple uses the apple with the bite out of it as a symbol of the source of its goods. Our apple-heart was not indicative of the source of any goods or services. There’s no trademark infringement because we weren’t claiming anything as a trademark.

Did We Commit Copyright Infringement?
I wouldn’t be surprised if Improv AZ and/or Brand X get cease and desist letters based on copyright infringement because our design was inspired by Apple’s logo. However, I’d argue that we created a parody that is protected under the fair use doctrine. A parody needs to resemble the original in order for people to get it; thus our shirts had to resemble the Apple shirts to be funny. Improv AZ did not make any money of these shirts, and Brand X probably isn’t turning a big profit either. Additionally, Apple doesn’t sell its shirt to the general public, and there’s no way someone who wants an Apple shirt would buy ours thinking it was close enough to what they wanted.

Thank you to everyone who came out to make this event a success and to Devon Christopher Adams and Sheila Dee for shooting such wonderful pictures of the event! If you want your own apple-heart shirt, they are available at Brand X Custom T-shirts.

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