lightlag: Back view of Yasu, a white hat on their head, still partly in their servant uniform with golden butterflies around them (umineko tag)
[personal profile] lightlag
 ok so i was ranting on twitter about yasu, lion, and the gender issue, and i think i've worked out my interpretation of it...!
warnings for gender dysphoria, sexism, cissexism in discussion, and HUGE SPOILERS ahead so don't read unless you've finished ep7. please note that i use singular "they" pronouns for both lion and yasu.

so without further ado, let me present my thoughts on the cat box that is yasu, lion and their idea of gender:

the "yasu is dmab" theory is very plausible and probably the most accurate in canon, and i've used it to develop my own insights on yasu's gender confusion and identity from there. it's strongly hinted that yasu was born male, and their accident caused their reproductive system/genitals to be damaged or require surgery. this accident was probably the source of most of their gender confusion, and mainly because of the patriarchal layout of binary gender (and the sexism that pervades the atmosphere which is repeatedly pointed out by the author) yasu, and most everyone else, assumes that having a penis = male and the lack of a penis = female. it's the phallocentric idea of men "having something" and women "missing something" that really really messed up yasu's self-image; losing their "functionality as a man" was probably very crucial to yasu's furniture complex.

in this environment yasu could not have grown up with a non-binary model of gender or even the differentiation of gender vs. assigned sex, so it's not as much "yasu doesn't identify as non-binary" as "yasu doesn't even know what non-binary would mean to them." so much of yasu's conflict is centered around their anger and shame at having a "body that is unable to love," and looking forward this would deconstruct their identity in the future: with the idea that "a married man has the responsibility to make his wife conceive" and "a wife has the responsibility of satisfying her husband and being able to give birth", yasu has nowhere they can go, and no in-between. this also depicts the "sex equals love" philosophy of the time, as if yasu cannot fathom loving another person without being forced into sex and as a result, having to reveal their atypical sexual characteristics (and their fear of rejection REALLY makes this hit hard, as yasu is a character who deeply needs validation to have a self-image at all, and without being loved and accepted by someone else, their entire idea of themself as a human being just falls apart.)
 
they were not brought up with knowledge of the idea of non-binary gender identities (in which they could probably seek solace) or intersex/atypical sex characteristics, whether born with it or as a result of emergency surgery. that in itself is at the root of yasu's furniture complex; they depend on validation of identity and validation of their own emotions, and without the sense that this is something that is not theirs alone to suffer, yasu feels alone and stranded in their own body even moreso than before.

as a non-binary trans person i agree with the "yasu is dmab" theory but i do NOT agree with the "yasu identifies as male" theory simply because their identity can't be determined or even conceptualized correctly without this huge piece of information.


now on to lion. as we know, lion is the yasu from the "miracle fragment", where natsuhi accepts the baby given to her by kinzo and the child, named lion, is raised to become the next head of the ushiromiya family. from the beginning, lion is accepted, and therefore did not suffer the accident that caused yasu's "deformity." however we are still not given a defining answer as to what lion's sex is (or gender, because it seems to be synonymous within the fandom?) and lion still cultivates a gender-neutral appearance and chooses not to publicly reveal this information either. so if most of yasu's gender confusion was driven by their accident and subsequent sex condition, then where does that leave lion?

thinking about this more led me to realize that even in different universes, lion and yasu are still the same person. so whether the child suffers the accident or not, whether they grow up to be yasu or lion, they still question their gender identity. this brings to light the fact that while much of yasu's struggle with gender is centered around their condition, it has an internal basis from the beginning as well.

the "lion is dmab" theory also makes sense here, because lion is designated to be the next family head, and the patriarchal system of passing down the headship to a suitable male child or grandchild is never quite called into question by the family (with the exception of eva.) knowing that yasu was never brought up with the concept of gender vs. assigned sex and genders outside the binary, we can assume that kinzo and/or the other relatives never called lion's gender identity into question, just knew that they were born male and so was eligible to become the head. of course, even if lion/yasu was dfab, (which may be viable as well,) they are still loved and held in high regard by kinzo due to their carrying beatrice's blood, and i wouldn't put it past kinzo to let a dfab lion succeed him in the headship either. 

however, i stand firmly by my belief that lion is non-binary, and has come to this conclusion on their own. yes, outward factors such as yasu's accident may influence an individual's concept of their own gender, but it's also an internal matter. lion, along with being accepted by natsuhi and therefore not suffering yasu's fate, has managed to carve out their own idea of gender from the binary. in my opinion, what the writer wanted to express here was that lion's assigned sex does not matter. they were able to overcome the fate that was assigned to yasu and live a happy life, whether or not the readers (and even the characters) knew their sex. just settling for "lion is dmab therefore lion is a boy" or "lion is a girl and doesn't want to say" is cissexist and also undermines one of the greatest mysteries behind yasu, and how lion came to move past it.

lion even admits to having a complex towards being asked about their sex. as a non-binary person who mainly gets read as female, if i were asked "are you a boy or a girl" like will asked lion, i would definitely have the same sort of dismissive, frustrated reaction. lion doesn't want to share their identity because this is something they've cultivated by themself, and if others don't understand the non-binary model, so be it. it doesn't change how they perceive themself at all, which is the most important thing to me.


tl;dr lion/yasu is non-binary, and the sheer lack of nb representation in media makes their struggle all the more evident to me as the struggle of a gender nonconforming individual. 

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