Courtney Act Is Proud To Represent The “Gray Area” Between Cisgender And Transgender

The "Drag Race" star dishes on her relationship with Chaz Bono and how she discovered the term "genderqueer."

Courtney Act sat down for a revealing interview with Buzzfeed this week, chatting about her struggles with gender identity and how she was introduced to the term “genderqueer,” an expression she says she identified with long before she learned about it.

“The gay community has got these sorts of unspoken guidelines about masculinity, like muscles, tans, and all of these sorts of things,” she said. “And because I perform as Courtney, I always had this struggle between wanting to fit in with the boys and wanting to pursue this thing that I loved so much.”

Courtney said she was deeply insecure about her struggle to find a happy medium between the “two opposite ends” of the gender spectrum in the years immediately preceding her stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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“There were two ideals in my head, the male underwear model or the Victoria’s Secret model… and I remember not knowing which one I wanted to be,” she said.

“There were other occurrences throughout my twenties where people who in no way were trying to attack or insult me asked me questions about my gender, and I just got really aggressive about it.”

It wasn’t until Courtney met Chaz Bono during a taping of Drag Race that she learned the concept of “genderqueer.”

“I had just explained to him my concept of my gender, and he said, ’I hear what you’re saying, but what about this idea?’ And I just heard the word genderqueer. I had this ’aha!’ moment when I realized that I didn’t have to be a man and I didn’t have to be a woman, I didn’t have to be either of these things, and that I could just be me.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Chaz Bono (R) and Singer/drag entertainer Courtney Act attend Dancing With The Stars Season 17 wrap party at Sofitel Los Angeles on November 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for BBC Worldwide Productions)

Courtney went on to say she doesn’t specifically identify as genderqueer or genderfluid, but that “those terms helped me get to a place where I didn’t need labels any more. I was like, ’Oh, I’m just me.'”

She goes on to say she identifies as male but is “close to the middle… if there was a scale.”

“Obviously there’s Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox and all these trans people who are so inspiring and so brilliant. But people who might feel gender diverse may feel transitioning is the only option,” she said. “I like to represent that there’s some gray area as well.”

Learn more about the genderqueer community when Logo airs True Life: I’m Genderqueer next Wednesday, November 18, at 10am as part of Logo’s Transgender Awareness Week lineup. And stick around for a brand new episode of Beautiful As I Want To Be airing at 11am.

Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.
@mattharrett