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Because she grew up in the city, trailblazer Geena Rocero feels like she’s always trying to get back to her roots in a pre-colonial Philippines. Her desire to do so, she says, came to fruition in a tanning salon in San Francisco — you’ll have to read her book to hear the rest of that story. But before 400 years of colonization from Spain, America, and Japan in World War II, the Philippines were “an animist culture,” Geena says. “Everything revolved around the seasons, the animals, the flowers, the harvest.”

In her pageant days, she was anointed with the insult-turned-nickname- turned-memoir-title, “Horse Barbie,” for her tumbling hair and long legs. Now, she explores her ancestral animism in her current work as a storyteller, uncovering parts of her colonial “brainwashing” that denied what has always existed for her. “And that led me to how natural it is to have variations of sex and gender.”

Growing up, Geena was taught: “You were assigned this gender. This is so absolute. It’s biology. It’s nature,” she says. “Those people were making decisions back in the day under their limited understanding of what’s supposed to be ‘natural’ under Western ideals.” Much like the indigenous shamanic genderless babaylan, the natural world continues to teach us — if only we’d listen.

In this all-too-familiar cultural moment, the West continues to find ways to inhibit the natural order of the trans population. The pope vocates on the “anthropological crisis” of gender liberation, referring to the work of trans movementists and feminists alike as “dangerous” and “ugly.” Fear stokes bioessentialism in both liberal and conservative America with almost 500 different pieces of proposed legislation targeting trans people’s right to their own bodies (if not sports, identification, education, or existence).

Prominent British media brands seem to never tire of their inordinately virulent anti- trans argumentation, galvanizing lesbian separatists who have, before this moment, never had a cause to protest. Most of these gender imperialists point to “biology,” citing the difference between men and women as inalienable and fundamental to the natural fabric of the world. And yet, in naming biology, they forget 1. that trans beings precede the term “transgender” in some of the earliest recorded histories of the earth, and 2. that the human species is just one member of that supposed “biology.”

“You’re saying ‘biology?’ Now I’m presenting biology. Call me Geena Attenborough.” Rocero comes out of modeling retirement to grace our pages with this co-concepted editorial for GAY TIMES, reimagining a few of her favorite, gender-defiant fauna.



All clownfish are born males. At some point in their lives, this fish must decide on whether it wishes to stay that way or become a female. This process is called sequential hermaphroditism.

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Perhaps the most genderfluid bird in the animal kingdom, the wading sandpiper Ruff has four distinct gender categories. A third type of male, thought of as a “cross-dresser,” blends into the females during breeding season.

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The female swallowtail butterfly contains a single doublesex gene that allows it to mimic the look of more toxic butterflies in order to protect itself, an ability facilitated by ancestral polymorphism.



By now, most people know that it’s the male seahorse that gives birth, and that’s the same case for the leafy seadragon. The fathers incubate their embryos in a uterus-like pouch, complete with placenta to support their baby’s growth.