Elliott Alexzander isn’t expecting GenderFlux to solely make a fashion statement. The social entrepreneur wants the binary-busting brand to spark conversations about gender non-conforming queers.
Alexzander (top photo, center) launched GenderFlux last year after successfully crowd-funding a preorder of more than 300 t-shirts. In January, the Atlanta-based brand expanded its online store and currently boasts five designs focused on establishing an awareness of gender-variant life that was absent from its founder’s adolescence.
Project Q chatted with the Atlanta model, designer and singer about a personal journey through the gender binary, how blogging changed life as Alexzander knows it, and the future of the brand.
How would you explain gender variance to the uninitiated?
First, gender identity and sexual identity are different things. The gender binary is the professional term used to describe the socially constructed norm of only two gender identities that an individual can ever identify with.
Identifying as gender variant means they do not identify within that binary. In other words, their gender identity is neither boy nor girl but perhaps a mix of both, or neither.
What are your earliest memories of gender variance?
I believe in my heart that I have always been gender variant, but growing up I had no example of someone like me.
When were you exposed to the gender binary?
I started seeing a therapist about three years ago, to help determine if I was transgender or not. That is when I was exposed to the term non-binary. Soon after I created my blog House of Alexzander and used the Internet to research people in the world living a gender variant life.
I was shocked. There are so many people in the world who relate to some form of gender variance, but what there is not is a poster child. I am going to change that.
So, is your family supportive of your cause?
I have come to understand that family is not necessarily the people you share a common last name with, but the people you choose to love and love you back. I am one of the most lucky people in the world to have such a supportive family who embraces me and loves me for exactly who I am, what I want to be and will always have my back.
Is GenderFlux an extension of your own struggle to find fashion that fit your style?
Exactly right. In my personal experience, I deal with awkward glares from people across department stores wondering why I am shopping in the women’s section all the time. It’s not my fault that my face is scruffy again, I just didn't feel like shaving, but I certainly wanted to wear this dress because it looks badass on me. But people don't think about that, they instantly pin me as a weirdo and let their fears of something unusual influence their negative reactions.
What is the greater purpose behind GenderFlux?
The GenderFlux Campaign has two purposes. The first is a source of income that will fuel the growth and awareness of the brand so that my team and I can keep pushing forward. The second is to put the terms that are used by the gender variant community out there in the world for society to see and be curious about so people will ask questions. That's when the door is opened to understanding.
How has House of Alexzander shaped your journey?
Every day I receive questions from strangers all around the world, people opening up to me and confiding in me. Once I received a message through Tumblr from an individual who was contemplating death. They said that because they knew someone else who was openly living as gender variant, they realized that their own life could have the same potential.
Without examples of gender variance to inspire future generations of our society, so many more individuals will continue to give up their lives because they are different. Being able to save someone's life? Nothing could prepare me for that. Nothing could compare to the satisfaction in knowing that I changed someone life for the better.
You are a former Sing For Your Life contestant. Are you also working on music?
Sing For Your Life was an amazing experience that brought me completely out of my shell. It was what I needed to launch me further as an artist. I have been working with talented people on a song that will be released soon, followed by a video that will tie back into the GenderFlux Campaign, so keep your eyes and ears on the lookout!