Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation is grabbing much of the attention, but she’s a reflection of a movement, not the start of one. Labels can be — and often deliberately are — misleading. Even labels until recently seen by a large majority as harmless and sturdy, like gender. But if there is a new “Gender Fluid Movement” as writer Alex Hawgood asserts at Yahoo, then what does it replace? And is it really even new?
Dr. Renee Richards had her sex change operation in 1975, 40 years before Caitlyn Jenner’s big reveal in Vanity Fair. In the 1960s and 70s, rock god David Bowie dated myriad Hollywood starlets and some of rock’s leading men. Bowie was a drag queen for much of a decade. And yet his sexual ambiguity, or androgyny, or fluidity — whatever you want to label it — hardly hurt David Bowie’s appeal and allure. It only elevated him. If early-to-mid career David Bowie wasn’t “gender fluid”, then the term has no meaning at all.