Gender by Season

Nonbinary content creator speaks out after Fox News twists their words

Nonbinary activist and content creator Dee Whitnell recently made a YouTube video on the relationship between gender and seasons — and Fox News bizarrely twisted it to claim that trans people are identifying as seasons. Now the video’s creator is speaking out about what they said and how it’s been weaponized.

Whitnell’s video, posted earlier this month, described the experience some trans and nonbinary people have of “changing or exploring [their] expression or gender identity depending on the season.”

“This isn’t saying that all trans individuals experience this because that’s just not the case, or that seasons determine your gender identity or expression,” Whitnell explained. “However, it can influence it.”

To give an example, Whitnell described: “I feel more masculine in the summertime. I wear more masculine clothing, I wear shorts. I normally have my hair up more and I just feel more ‘boy’, whereas in the winter – for some reason – girl mode comes out and I’m loving skirts and dresses and having my hair down.”

Not long after the video was published, both Fox News and The Daily Mail ran stories misrepresenting Whitnell’s words to push the narrative that trans people will identify as anything, including seasons.

“I think it was used [by Fox News] in a way of being like: ‘Oh, look what they’re doing now. They’re making up more nonsense,’” Whitnell told PinkNews.

But (in addition to not talking at all about identifying as a season) Whitnell was not speaking for the experience of the entire queer community. They were highlighting a nuanced experience some people go through. “The more information we get out there, the more likely somebody is to see that representation, see themselves in it and therefore find their community,” Whitnell said.

“To those people who see it and think it’s somebody literally identifying as the season, it’s not. It’s just a way for trans people to explore their expression and identity, and [to] be able to put words to it.”

But the hate has not been relegated to the right wing press. Whitnell has also received negativity from the trans community, particularly the truscum crowd. This was especially painful for Whitnell. “If a trans or queer person actively says: ‘No, you don’t exist [as a non binary person]’, that’s what hurts me and that’s more damaging to the community because we’re already facing so much from the outside,” they said. “We don’t need to be in-fighting.”

But Whitnell has developed a thick skin against hateful discourse by keeping their eye on the prize. “I know that the work I’m doing and what I’m doing online, and outside the online space, is benefiting people and that’s all that matters,” they said.

“I know the work that I and many others do, even though we get criticized and scrutinized by various organizations and people, matters and will actually save lives.”

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