My Gender Is Masha Gessen

Jen Silverman at The Paris Review:

Masha Gessen at her apartment in Moscow in the early 1990s, when she was in her mid-twenties

A friend of mine has departed from pronoun-related language to describe their own gender. “My gender is orange,” they said once. “My gender is chrome.” When I tried making my own list I was surprised by how quickly I knew the answers. My gender is denim, my gender is The Doubtful Guest, my gender is sunflower yellow. My gender is that photo of Masha Gessen lying on a couch, smoking languidly, giving you a look of intense expectation: Now what?

This image of Masha Gessen exists in stark contrast to the hopeless banality of the gender binary, because Masha Gessen has both repurposed and transcended that binary. Now they’re just getting on with being fabulous. In my imagined life of aspirational glamour, Masha is forever standing in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, giving you a look that says “… I wrote a book about totalitarianism?” whenever you want to ask silly questions about how they identify. Masha Gessen rocks a blazer like nobody else and has three kids and a partner whose facial symmetry is astonishing; they don’t have time to explain they/them pronouns.

more here.