KIERAN

Philadelphia, PA

*These questions were answered via email.

What are your pronouns?

 

They/them, not mad about he/him.

Where do you work?

 

Philadelphia.

 

Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

 

Muay Thai kickboxing.

 

What do you do for fun?

 

Take walks with my partner and dog... Eat hot pot.

How do you handle the issue of pronouns and being gendered when interacting with strangers / mixed company / etc?

 

Depends on the context. At work I'm not out except to people I trust because I don't want to deal with cis folks taking up space with over-apologizing and making it clear it's a burden to remember. In social spaces I'm usually with someone who knows my pronouns and models them at some point in a conversation.

 

Have you had difficulties with changing your name and the way it affects you moving through the world, being recognized how you want, or being mis-gendered?

 

Yes, only because I haven't changed my name legally and every time I get a new job it's a battle to make sure the name I go by is on as many identifiers as possible. My given name is Mary Grace, so it doesn't lend well to how I do identify. I get a mix of folks affirming my chosen name and people making it clear that they liked my ''given'' name and "Why would I change such a pretty name?"

 

What word(s) would you use to describe your identity?

 

Genderqueer, trans, boi.

Are there ways that you dress / act / speak / etc. to specifically make a statement to others about your identity? Why?

I think I naturally present masculine of center in movement, sometimes voice, it's more an unconscious expression of myself that also feels authentic when reflecting on it or noticing it.

 

How early on did you know or suspect that you did not identify within the binary?

 

As soon as my parents were putting me in dresses, before I even had the capacity to now look back and remember these times, at 3 years old kicking dress shoes and tights and dresses off.

Can you give any examples of misconceptions people have about those who identify outside the binary? Have you personally dealt with them?

 

People simply think it's not a thing because they don't have the language or conceptual openness to learn about an identity they think they've never encountered before. I deal with this with my parents often.

In your own words, how would you explain that gender identity is different from sexual orientation?

 

It doesn't matter who I love, this is how I love to present my body and desire shouldn't be limited based on how others read my body, clothing, amount of hair, etc.

How do you feel represented in media and society at large?

 

As trendy or as a taboo oddity, tokenized or invisible. Or somehow the myth that non-binary is "new."

 

What improvements would you like to see happen inside your communities, and in society at large?

 

Make room for the ancient, ancient reality that gender is a construct that has differed between cultures for centuries and Western ones are responsible for dualism, which also applies to the man/woman binary, which is an imposed power structure, not categories everyone ''naturally'' fits into. Gender is a spectrum, something to self-identify with, and recognition of that would help people open up to learning gender neutral language and not raising kids to fit into boxes based on their anatomy.

 

Could you tell me about an experience or moment in your life that was very impactful for you? It can be in regards to your identity, or not.

 

I think growing up and trying on ''boyhood'' as I understood it, helped me peel layers I added later on to survive socially and get back to my most authentic ways of being.

Who in your life do you feel you can trust or depend on?

 

My partner, my friends, and my mentors.

How has your identity played a role in your relationships, romantic or otherwise? 

My reflections on my gender identity have often times been spurred by romantic relationships, and sometimes even more deeply in workshop spaces with other folks discussing identity.

Are you able to find adequate medical care?

 

Yes, I have a lot of job / education / race privilege.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

You are beautiful and you will do big things from your core, don't dress it up for other people.

 

What are your concerns for the future?

 

Policy getting even worse than it already has been. Raising kids gender-neutral in a gendered world.

 

What do you look forward to in the future?

 

Raising kids gender-neutral.