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the identity issue

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an independent community zine


Cover photographer Tilly warburton

they them th y them they

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the identity issue

Non is a bimonthly community zine created for members of the non-binary community. Non’s contents is made up of personal stories, poetry and photography either by non-binary individuals or for them. As a brand non’s mission is to make a safe space for non-binary individuals to come together and help each other by sharing their experiences, art forms and achievements. Non exists to help individuals with their identity and give them confidence within themselves and their decisions. With each issue of this zine non hopes to bring more members of the community together to ensure nobody feels alone or like they don’t belong. This issue of non explores identity and what that can mean for people and how to embrace who you are and not be afraid to be bold and beautiful. Short stories from individuals in this issue can give others a real insight into what other people are battling with on a daily basis and how they are coming to terms with their identity one step at a time. Each new issue will revolve around a central theme and will be contained with stunning photography, design and people. We hope to inspire, empower and inform with non and to hopefully lead the path for many, forward into a much brighter future.

an independent community zine 3


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Poetry and photography

amy shelton

Amy Shelton Photographer @amysheltonphotography They/Them 5


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photography

mia sakai

identity

identity

Mia Sakai Photographer @miasakai95 7


mia sakai 8


So who wrote this piece? Me. Both of me. Whoever that is. Or ‘are’, perhaps I should say. I have two names: one male, one female. One was given to me by my parents when I was born; I chose the other one myself in adulthood. Both names reflect part of me, but both are needed to reflect the whole of me.

and jeans. Those for me were golden times. And I experienced my first same-sex physical attraction. It felt so normal, and it didn’t bother me that this was happening right alongside opposite-sex attraction. It felt like the whole world was opening up to me. However… with the journey into adulthood came the realisation that straddling the apparent boundary between sexes and genders wasn’t going to be the cornucopia of joyful experiences and liberation that those early awakenings had suggested. By the time I went out into the world as a young adult, it became clear that what I felt and what was expected of me were two very different things. I was both boyfriend and girlfriend to partners in my dreams, but the world demanded only one of those from me. (And I was useless at it.) It was to be many years before gender fluidity, non-conformity, the non-binary, were to become commonplace concepts, but they were raging inside me like a storm.

My childhood was spent mostly being the sort of person that was expected, given the gender I was assigned at birth: for example, the clothes I wore. This was in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in a middle-class household, in a society where genders were strictly binary and you followed the gender to which you’d been assigned at birth. However, my parents – and I will always thank them for this – didn’t treat us kids differently from each other: the boy and the girl were always free to make up their own minds about what interested them. The boy was always dressed in trousers and the girl in a skirt, but other than that, there was no being forced into a gendered pigeonhole. They went trainspotting and played with toy cars as equals, which was quite enlightened for the time. When the boy wanted to be a priest (as all good Catholic boys did), the girl quite happily played along at being an altar boy – even though it was to be several decades before altar girls would be allowed in real life. It didn’t matter to us: gender just didn’t occur to us as kids. We were just us.

I was a girl. A girl who wore male clothes because for some reason I felt more at home in them. I loved trains and motorcycles and even old buses. (Still do.) And yet I was gentle and nurturing and a little bit mother-hen. This mix pleased nobody, including myself. If one side was happy – a quiet, nurturing young woman with a wonderful husband – the other side was angry, isolated, sidelined, raging to be heard. I loved my husband but wanted a wife as well. How can life be lived in such a way?

The difficulty started when puberty and hormones reared their ugly heads. By this time, fashion had embraced the unisex look: in the late 1960s and early 1970s young men and young women could have similar hair styles and wear identical shirts

Society didn’t let you be both. It demanded a singularity. I was criticised for 9

PERSONAL STORY

Identity – An Unfinished Journey by – Well, That’s The Question


the way I dressed, for the lack of make-up, for not getting my hair ‘done’. I’d much rather be in my bike gear and hide the unacceptable hair under a crash helmet. And always the comments: ‘How unusual to find a young lady who has a favourite type of bus!’ ‘You’re going to the Diesel Gala? But – you’re a young lady?’ ‘You ride a motorbike? Don’t you mean a scooter?’ F*** off, world. But of course I couldn’t say that. I just caved in to depression and self-loathing. It’s no coincidence that we non-conforming, non-binary, trans-leaning people have hugely high rates of selfharm. We want to punish this body that lets us down so badly, that makes people say things and expect things and demand things when they don’t know us at all.

you’re wrong. You’re just wrong. Even when you buy the clothes you want, they don’t sit right on you because your body is the wrong shape. Not the clothes, your body. This wretched lump of physical misery. And now old age is knocking at my door, and there isn’t much time left in which to find that elusive inner peace. It’s difficult trying not to see your life as a failed attempt, an opportunity not grasped – I did my best with the personality I had in the times in which I lived. It would be so very much easier now, probably. At least we now know more about gender fluidity and non-conformity; we’re much more likely to ‘allow’ someone to be themselves rather than demanding that they fit the straitjacket of gendered expectation. My wardrobe is now almost exclusively male – even down to such things as watches and glasses – and I’m getting better at not feeling awkward about wearing those things publicly. To open my wardrobe door and not be consumed with depression is a good feeling.

Everything I got involved in, I had to lie. Not outright, just pretend. Every club I joined, every outing I went on, people would see a woman and expect certain things of me. Because I didn’t want to upset anyone, I would go along with it. Oh such a good little girl, not causing any trouble. Except inwardly, to myself. Thank goodness for the pants, I’d say to myself; they’d hate me if they could see my pants! Maybe this is why no socialising ever lasted very long. I just couldn’t keep up the pretence of being ‘normal’, of conforming to those hated expectations.

Sometimes I put my bike gear on again. The broad-shouldered jacket padded with body armour. The boots. The helmet and the shades and the neck warmer. All you see is a person, not a gender. And then I feel I can take on the world!

Liberation came when I met some trans guys and realised at last where I belonged. Everything that had tormented me had tormented them, too. We talked about the hideousness of going into a clothes shop and the stormcloud of failure and depression that would land on us. Over there are the clothes we’re ‘meant’ to wear, but the ones we want to wear are on the next floor. You try buying clothes from the ‘wrong’ section, being too afraid to try them on in the shop, being embarrassed at saying no, it really is the men’s shoes I want to look at, please don’t think I’m a freak or a danger to your children, I’m just gender non-conforming. And you come home wretched with misery because

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photography

shanel edwards

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iden Shanel Edwards Photographer @shaneledwardsart They/Them 12


photography

shanel edwards

ntity 13


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photography

shanel edwards

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tilly warburton

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IDENTIT

IDENTIT 17


tilly warburton

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Let’s start from the beginning… I was assigned Female at birth and was born three months early, I faced many struggles but no one knew that my gender would be one of them. I remember when I was younger walking around the house topless, feeling proud because I was like my older brother Sam. I didn’t know this wouldn’t be a normal thing for me to do in a few years time, I just assumed I would grow up to be like Sam and my Dad.

PERSONAL STORY

My Experience with Identity by Ezra Riley

also when the depression started to creep in, missing classes and losing friends. I started to question my sexuality, realising I am bisexual - maybe this was why I just didn’t feel right? So, I embraced it. Presenting more masculine, with the excuse of being gay. I started feeling more comfortable in my identity again, much like when I was younger. Dressing more masculine helped me gain more confidence in myself, I experimented with my fashion and really had fun with a mixture of feminine and masculine aspects, I was very much androgynous.

I was your classic ‘tom boy’ growing up - I lived in boys clothes and was obsessed with building and dismantling stuff, forever trying to climb trees and ride my bike. This was all well and good until I started to grow older, fitting in and making friends at school was a struggle. I couldn’t relate to most of the girls and was too scared to hang out with the boys. This struggle continued until I hit secondary school, luckily I was able to build a strong group of girlfriends that took me through till the end of school. That being said… I was never one to fit in - the scruffy one of the group. Long unbrushed hair, no makeup, baggy school clothes and hoodies, chunky trainers. There was nothing feminine or elegant about me. I would try my hardest to fit in but it just wouldn’t work.

I started uni with a wave of excitement, it was a new beginning for me, I could finally be myself. Or so I thought. It didn’t take me long to become severely depressed, I was completely lost. I hated my course, I was in a strange city, I had no idea who I was once again. Time to switch things up again, I needed to find my happiness. I made the tough decision to quit my course and jump into something completely new that i have never done before - Fashion. With a clear mind, truly realising my gender (a trans man) came quickly after that! A scary journey to go on but also the one I knew was right. I started PCA presenting as Ezra - a guy. And I’ve never felt more myself and liberated in my life. Fast forward to today (07/05/2019) I am currently two weeks on Testosterone and although I have a long way ahead of me, I am finally excited for my future and the man that I will become!

Finishing secondary school was a scary time for me, who was I going to be without my support network of friends? I decided I needed to make a change. The first day of college - long, blonde, straightened hair; full face of makeup; white, lacy, flowy dress; pretty, heeled brown boots. A completely new person. This is how I presented for the rest of college, this is 19


PERSONAL STORY

When I was younger I always wanted to be like my brother, I learnt from him and looked up to him. It was about halfway through primary school when I started to wear trousers, made friends with boys and had more of a masculine personality. It wasn’t until I started secondary school that I started to question my sexuality and then later on I started questioning my gender identity because I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I went through so many dark patches because I kept it to myself for so long until it hurt too much to keep it hidden and I came out. At first things were a bit rocky and it still is sometimes but eventually things sorted themselves out. It still hurts a bit when I get misgendered or people use my deadname (birth name) but that’s just something I have to get used to until I can come out fully in a social setting. Things do get better.

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tilly warburton

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ARTIST STATEMENT

eme

‘Blue barbie’ is an extract from the series it’s a boy. The work consists of donated everyday objects spray- painted and photographed to skew and transgress our learnt understanding of gender and sexuality. This is dedicated to the lgbtqai+ community that continue to fight everyday for our right to live whilst educating and re-creating the way we understand the world. ‘Blue barbie’ signifies defiance and resistance; it is a protest of the dominant mould of western, binary systems that privileges white cisheteropatriarchy as the universal truth for existence. These ideaologies plague every aspect of daily life, to program our way of being, thinking and seeing. The image depicts the struggle of the ‘other’, and the violence that comes with our very being in order to exist in this world: internally and externally. As a queer, trans non-binary, person of colour who has chronic health conditions, my existence is deemed less than in the hierarchy of the socio-economic and political sphere. This image was conceived to express the frustration, desperation and determination for freedom for all beings. To all comrades fighting for survival, thank you for existing.

EME Artist hi.ehmeh@gmail.com www.emeeme.work They/Them 23


Lauren Woods @_portraitmami and Lachlan Watson of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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photography

Lauren Woods

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photography

Lauren Woods

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tilly warburton

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Tilly Warburton Pages; Cover, 16,17,18 &21 @tilly.warburton tillywarburton.wixsite.com/mysite-1 Amy Shelton - They/Them Pages; 4-5 @amysheltonphotography amysheltonphotography.com Mia Sakai Pages; 6-8 @miasakai95 mia-sakai.com Shanel Edwards - They/Them Pages; 11-15 @shaneledwardsart Lauren Woods Pages; 24-27 @_portraitmami Artist EME Pages; 22-23 hi.ehmeh@gmail.com www.emeeme.work Writers Thank you to everyone contributed and sent submissions to the zine you have really made this come to life. Another special thank you to the non-binary individuals who shared their wonderful stories about identity and experiences, they’re simply stunning.

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contributors

photography


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Profile for Charlotte_Johnstone

Non Zine  

This zine was created for my final major project which was based on a social justice project of gender norms. It contains photography form n...

Non Zine  

This zine was created for my final major project which was based on a social justice project of gender norms. It contains photography form n...

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