Former Woman Comes Out as Trans After Reading Marie Kondo’s Book About Tidying Up

Former Woman Comes Out as Trans After Reading Marie Kondo’s Book About Tidying Up

“You look hot.”

An author, who once identified as a woman, described this week coming to realize that she was in fact nonbinary after reading Marie Kondo’s book and following the organizational guru’s admonition to get rid of all possessions that do not “spark joy.”

Writing in an opinion piece published by Them., an LGBT-focused outlet launched in 2017 under the distinguished umbrella of publisher Condé Nast, Sandy Allen detailed how the lessons from Kondo – whose 2019 Netflix show “Tidying Up” has made her a viral sensation – led to a startling realization: the discomfort Allen had always felt wearing women’s clothing spoke to a deeper tension related to her female identity.

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2008/2018 #genderisadrag

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Kondo has reached meme status by advising would-be declutter-ers to take a look at each item they possess and ask themselves a simple question: “Does it spark joy?” If it doesn’t, she encourages them to discard it.

Allen took Kondo’s advice to heart, and directly attributes to it a burgeoning awakening about her transgender identity. “A month later, kneeling and sobbing before my Marie Kondo discard pile, it felt silly, sure, that this book is what had finally done it, but I also couldn’t unsee my actual preferences: so much of the feminine clothing I owned did not spark joy,” Allen wrote.

“One August day, I donated the last of my heels and dresses, the ones that had once been my absolute favorites. I happened to run into someone I knew in line at the thrift shop, and he offered to take my box of things to donate. I put them in his trunk and watched him drive away. I didn’t say to him, nor could I have articulated, that I was throwing out the last of me pretending to be a woman,”  Allen added.

Allen’s then-boyfriend Rob (the two have since married), was unperturbed by these radical changes. After Allen poured out her heart to Rob, they went shopping for men’s clothing items. Seeing his once-female partner dressed up in masculine garb, Rob declared, “You look hot.”

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I’m doing 5 radio interviews today ☎️? #AKOMP

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Eventually, Allen learned the words “nonbinary” and “trans” to describe her gender. Allen now identifies as nonbinary trans and uses they/them pronouns, according to the bio on her website.

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Allen’s gender transition brought an awareness of the pervasiveness of social injustices in culture. “I recalled other transphobic — specifically transmisogynist — cultural artifacts that attracted me when I was younger, realizing in fact that so much of the comedy I loved growing up hinged on the joke of crossdressing: Mrs. DoubtfireMonty PythonLittle Britain. Also the joke of gender non-conformity, in the case of It’s Pat,” Allen wrote. “I probably loved these things both because they brought up the topic of gender, which did greatly interest me, and because they shamed me, bullied me away from acknowledging my own truth.”

And though the journey to gender enlightenment was at times messy and scary – Allen describes being misgendered and people getting angry when they realize she is not male – her newfound nonbinary-ness has led to a previously unimagined level of belonging.

“The best feelings are the converse of this cisgender othering: the moments of communion, however brief, I share with other queer and trans people out there in the world,” Allen wrote. “Like last June, I walked down Sixth Avenue during the NYC Dyke March, one body in a long splay of bodies, bodies with voices, bodies with drums, and I felt, for the first time ever, like I was surrounded by my peers. I felt really quiet that day, like no words would work. I still find myself unable to describe that feeling of having community. Suffice it to say, it sparked joy.”

Allen’s musings on transgenderism, and how she contrasts her personal awakening with the strict tidiness represented by Kondo’s organizing tips, reflect the broader cultural debate and confusion about gender identity issues. Gender norms, legal questions, and the recognition of transgender rights are issues that society continues to grapple with.

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