First of all, how are you and how have you been coping in 2020?
Hello! I’m doing okay, and I think that’s where a lot of people are at right now. 2020 has been a YEAR for many reasons, and it’s taken a lot of adaptation and adjustment, but as the world is reopening, and we are able to find our feet again I think it’s creating a sense of stability again. Coping has been hard, but it’s been a challenge that I know in the long term, will result in positive change for myself.
Tell us all about your presence online and how you got started!
My online presence started as a diary and was really a space for me to be able to have an outlet of conversation. I didn’t have many friends growing up, and being able to use social media to find the LGBTQ+ community in the palm of my hand was invaluable. I would use it as a diary of my day, in a very literal sense and looking back at it now it’s incredibly embarrassing and long and awful but I enjoyed it and at the time, it was a godsend for me. I’d archive and share my outfits, and it was a way to feel confident in who I was at that time.
You have a multi-hyphen bio as a writer – editor – speaker – model and more, what’s your advice for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Take your time! These things, despite social media often making them look like it, don’t happen overnight. There are endless hours of hard work, and it takes time to align yourselves with what you like doing, and what you want to do as your job. Often we end up moving our hobbies, into our careers, and it’s important you think carefully about that, as it can sometimes take the joy out of something you once loved doing. Be confident, proud and authentic in whatever industry you’re in, especially if you’re a marginalised voice. Don’t let people underestimate you, and always know your voice is necessary and valid in those spaces.
What is it like being such a prominent non-binary person on the internet?
It’s interesting, and at times incredibly difficult. As someone who holds a lot of privilege in this space, and often is asked to comment/speak on non-binary issues, it’s important for me to ensure I am constantly opening the door and widening the discussion around our identities. I like to use my platform, and voice and work to amplify our voices as a collective, because one person can never be a voice for our whole community. But I do enjoy it, it makes me feel empowered to see non-binary people represented in spaces that are so often devoid of transness.
You filmed a panel discussion discussing cyberbullying with Zoe for the lead up to Digital Detox Day, what are your experiences with Cyberbullying, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with it?
Cyber Bullying made up a lot of my younger years trauma, and it’s something that has evolved now into trolling and verbal harassment online. It’s really disheartening and toxic as it infiltrates your safe space, which can often be your social media. It creates a dynamic that can make you feel unsafe in a space you’ve curated to feel safe within, which is awful.
Advice for people going through it, and struggling with it is to know it’s not your fault. What you’re sharing, and speaking about should never mean you receive vitriol online. Speak to your friends about it, if you feel comfortable enough, share your experiences on it, and speak to fellow people who are in the same situation. Know that your curated online space is yours, so block, report, and get rid of these people who are continually doing this to you. Also, detox! Take time off, and find your footing with your physical allies if possible.
Why is it so important or you to have a Digital Detox Day?
For me, it’s important because so much of my work is now spent on social media. As a model and content creator, and a writer, there are few moments that I’m not online, so being able to actually reconnect with myself, and other people in person is really vital. It’s a reminder that we can still have joy, allyship and fun outside of our social networks. It’s also a test, to see if what people are speaking about online when it comes to social issues, are actually enacting the words they’re preaching in person.
What are some of the best things about the LGBTQ+ community online?
Our talent. We have SO much skill and brilliance in what we do, and seeing it online is really beneficial for our community. Especially our younger members. It’s freeing to feel that if you’re in a physical space that isn’t there for you, that you can have that sense of community instantly in the palm of your hands. It’s the best thing about the LGBTQ+ community online.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am about to release my debut book In Their Shoes, which is all about living and navigating life as a non-binary person. It’s been a chance to share my experiences with fashion, social media, work, relationships, family etc, and how I weaved my way through all of it. It’s fun, lighthearted, silly, but also serious and poignant and I can’t wait for it to be released on the 21st October! I’m also working on my own interview series with IWeigh and Jameela Jamil speaking to guests about what it’s like to be In Their Shoes for the day! We have some amazing guests such as Tom Allen and Ade Adepitan, so I can’t wait to share that with you soon!
How can people help the cause when it comes to Trans rights?
They can help by listening to the trans people themselves talk about the issues that impact their lives. Not just listening to the media, and ensuring they investigate their own questioning, by learning from trans people themselves. Realising that we aren’t just a sum of the awful headlines, and transphobic commentary, but of our skills, and our joy, and our brilliance.
What will you be getting up to on Digital Detox Day?
I’m going to make a concerted effort to enjoy myself offline. To make sure that I spend time with my close friends, and remember that it’s possible to have fun with people outside of social media, especially after the pandemic!
What does a perfect weekend look like for you?
A perfect weekend for me is spending it in a little quaint British town or seaside village, and roaming the charity shops and treating myself to a gorge little dinner after. I love going on rambles to random places in the UK, and being able to just walk around and spend time off my phone and do .. well nothing essentially! It’s the best, those days and weekends where you just relax and do very little but still have the best time.
What do you always carry with you?
I always carry a bottle of perfume, lipgloss and a packet of mixed nuts.. don’t ask me why but I’m permanently hungry so it’s always an essential!
If you could give one piece of positive advice to our followers what would it be?
To make sure that whatever you’re doing, and whatever stage you’re in, in your life, to know that things will become more streamlined, and easier, no matter how long it takes. Things will mellow, and you will find happiness in yourself and your identity.