As a cis woman, gender reveal parties have been little more than an annoyance to me. I’ve always resented the celebration of revealing gender as a way for parents to get a head-start on enforcing society’s gender norms. But it wasn’t until recently that I started to realize that what is little more than an annoyance to me is actually so much more destructive to my friends who aren’t cisgender. During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns in California, a gender reveal party’s pyrotechnic device sparked a massive wildfire. While this devastating wildfire proved to be little more than an annoyance for many who were not in its path, it had a very different meaning for me as the evacuation line crept closer to my home. I took this picture of the plume of smoke from my backyard. The red dot you see just outside the right side of the smoke is an air tanker. That small dot was our greatest hope for stopping the fire’s destructive path. That air tanker became a symbol to me of the work gender activists do every day. Eventually, the fire was put out but only because of the tireless efforts of dedicated humans who weren’t put off by the enormity of their work.
Gina Hanson is a writer out of Southern California. She holds an MFA in fiction from a California State University where she now teaches writing and advises a campus literary journal. Fiction of hers has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Typehouse Literary, Talking Writing, and has been performed at Liars’ League NYC. This is her first visual arts publication.