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Miley Cyrus is gender fluid: "I didn’t want to be a boy... I kind of wanted to be nothing."

Gender is in the news.

Gender fluidity is a term that is in the news this week. Miley Cyrus has told the world that she doesn’t identify as a male or a female.

She is not the only celebrity to do so. Last year, Ruby Rose made a short film about her identity – also describing herself as gender fluid.

Miley Cyrus doesn’t shave her pits – she dyes them. Image via Instagram.

“I didn’t want to be a boy… I kind of wanted to be nothing,” Cyrus told Out magazine in a quote that she then posted to Instagram.

“I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box I get put into.”

For many of us, our gender and our sex are one and the same. I was born a female. Therefore, I am a woman. It is that simple for me. But in fact, sex and gender identity are different things, and for some people the two don’t necessarily align.

Gender is our identity, a construct that’s learned and created. It isn’t “inherently nor solely connected to one’s physical anatomy,” according to Genderspectrum.org.

The pop star says she doesn’t identify as either a boy or a girl. Image via Instagram.

Gender is a sort of combination of our sex, our internal sense of self (male, female, neither, both) as well as outside influences and expectations.

A solely physical understanding of gender doesn’t really cover the vast spectrum that exists.

In other words, Miley Cyrus and Ruby Rose refuse to be categorised by the sex into which they were born. The prefer to shift fluidly between both male and female gender identities.

You might be tempted to view Cyrus’ transformation from Hannah Montana to androgynous, pot-smoking, tongue-wagging wild-child as a marketing exercise.

And you could be right, but whatever is behind it, she has certainly triggered important conversations about gender identity and society’s somewhat rigid definitions.

Ruby Rose has also added to these conversations. Rose, well-known in Australia as a former MTV VJ and model, is about to star in the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black.

Last year she shared an insight into what it’s like being gender fluid in a short film she called Break Free.

Ruby Rose has said she is gender fluid. Image via Instagram.

In it, Rose starts as a super-feminine blonde, bandage-dress clad, stiletto-bootie wearing woman, before slowing stripping away the hair, the clothes and the make-up. She scrubs her body to reveal her tattoos, binds her chest with bandages and puts on masculine clothes.

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Watch the powerful film, below.

“The only reason it was a surprise was because gender fluidity doesn’t get talked about enough,” she told News.com.au.

“Once the film went viral, the floodgate opened; to me, that said that this was something much bigger than I thought it was.”

Rose came out as a lesbian when she was 12 years old, and she’s been in a relationship with Roald Dahl’s granddaughter Phoebe Dahl for several years. They are planning to get married next year.

Rose and fiancee Phoebe Dahl. Image via Instagram.

Celebrities like Ruby Rose and Miley Cyrus seem “edgy” with their gender fluid identities, but the concept isn’t new.

In some countries that don’t adhere to Western-style hetero-normativity, there is a “third gender”.

In Samoa, for example, gender lines aren’t as defined is some cases.

“When I was young, my parents looked at me and the way I am… and they think, Oh Hazy, she must be not a boy, but something else. And then, they never accuse me… They really accept me. They understand what I am, in my body,” Samoan Hazy Pau Talauati told abc.net.au.

These boys are known as fa’afafine.

In India, the hijra are born male or intersex but generally dress in female clothes and identify as neither male nor female.

A group of Hijra in Bangladesh.

In Australia, we have been able, since 2003, to choose “X” as our gender for passports and birth certificates.

Norrie May-Welby became the first Australian to attain a legal status that is neither male nor female in 2014. May-Welby is listed as “non-specific”.

Other celebrities who don’t try to fit into a neat gender box include Le Tigre’s JD Samson, Tilda Swinton, Elly Jackson from synth-pop band La Roux, and creator of the Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien, who says he’s “30 per cent female, 70 per cent male.”

Does gender fluidity resonate with you?

More on gender…

Aussie trans icon on the “Bruce Jenner Effect”.

This is what the world’s first-ever transgender doll looks like.

Chaz Bono proud to have “blazed” the transgender trail.

Miley Cyrus: “I feel like I’m not tied to gender.”

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