This Genderqueer LGBTQ Activist Dispels The Myth That Beauty Comes In Two Genders

"Nothing about myself is controversial in my own head. Nothing is different, strange, or weird."

In the latest installment of StyleLikeU and Allure's Dispelling Beauty Myths series, gender-nonconforming LGBTQ activist and writer Jacob Tobia, dispels the myth that beauty comes in two genders. 


Tobia, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers the pronoun "they," explained to StyleLikeU that even as young child, they never stayed within the confines of one gender identification. Through it all, "I would not settle for any rules about my gender because I was like, I wanna go in the woods, play with bugs, dig out some clay from the creek bed, make my mom a cute little pot for her flowers, fight with sticks for a little while, get cleaned up, put on a tutu, dance around my house to Britney Spears, play with some Barbies, read a science book about planets, and then go to bed." 

Tobia explained that they eventually settled on identifying as a "nerd" because nerds weren't expected to be cool 

At 16, Tobia came out as gay first, because having a sexual identity felt the most important at that age. 

"I just always had so much gender. I just have gender oozing everywhere."

While Tobia may have officially come out as gay to the world, there was never one moment in time where they came out as non-binary. Rather, that happened more gradually. They described it as an "unfurling." 

"The paradox of being transfeminine, and particularly of being middle of the spectrum, is that the more in touch I get with my body, the more out of touch I have to get with it."

Tobia explained some of the challenges that come with being gender-nonconforming in public, especially in a city like New York where Tobia is based. They explained they need to have the ability to tune others out, have denial mechanisms, and the belief that nothing bad will happen to them.

Being transfeminine can also present relationship challenges. Tobia revealed that though they might be seen as glamorous, they aren't often seen as sexually attractive, and that they have less "access" to touch and romantic relationships.

"When you're transfeminine, you're outside of almost every script that we have for eroticizing people and appreciating their beauty."

Tobia admits that even the type of people they are attracted to can feel wrong because it feels unrealistic. Plus, Tobia says often others don't know how to acknowledge their attraction to Tobia even if they feel it. And if a person pursued a relationship, with Tobia, they would have to make scarifies and give up some of their "access to normal."

And those who are gender fluid and don't pursue medical transition of any kind have to go through the same experiences over and over.

"Every day you have to choose to give those things up again."

Tobia said they congratulate themselves for every day that they put on lipstick and eyeliner and don't cut their hair. But Tobia admits that on days when things are harder, they also allow themselves to go get a bagel with simply a T-shirt and gym shorts on. 

They acknowledged, "You don't owe it to people, every day, every moment, to challenge an entire system, because I shouldn't do it alone and I shouldn't act like I can." 

Despite having to challenge the system at times, Tobia makes it clear that there is nothing different about themselves. 

"Nothing about myself is controversial in my own head. Nothing is different, strange, or weird. Everything about this is totally normal, possible, and wonderful."

Tobia continued that they simply exist and it shouldn't have to be justified or defended because it's all organic and 100 percent natural. 

"You can't be an outsider to human gender. If you're a human being, you're inside human gender, and you got one, and it's great. And it should be there."

Tobia hopes we can eventually stop seeing gender as two dimensional, as it exists on such a huge spectrum, and people experience gender and identify in a multitude of ways. 

"It's [gender] like an extravagant jewel that shimmers everywhere, and captures the light and plays with it in a way that we can't understand is possible right now."

More From A Plus


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.