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"Hi I’m Moss, a nonbinary, queer, autistic person! I should also introduce my dog Jasper- I decided to include him in some of my portraits because he’s been with me throughout my whole transition journey so far and ultimately, he’s my best friend (you may have already seen him on this page in the pictures from the ban conversion therapy protest!).


I was inspired to take part in this project after seeing the Bristol Trans Portraits exhibition at St Georges and attending the panel on trans visibility. I have lived in rural areas close to Bristol my whole life and the city has always been a haven of acceptance of my identity, especially in the music scene, and I wanted to show other young people who might be in a similar position that there is not only acceptance but joy to be found just around the corner. Living in villages where there’s an older, more conservative population with no other queer people has been difficult and I’ve had a fair share of funny looks and negative comments but I take great comfort in knowing there’s a great community of other people like me just a bus ride away."

"I came out as pansexual to my friends and family when I was 14, however coming out as nonbinary felt more complicated to me- not just the new name and pronouns, it also meant the way I had been perceived for my whole life was changing and people would have to alter how they looked at me. There was a time I felt as if I would never come out as I feared not being understood and instead deemed an inconvenience.


When I began to come out as nonbinary at 16, I found I was wrong and people were very accepting although they initially took a while to adjust which was understandable with a name and pronoun change. My parents specifically needed significant time to adjust. My mum at first saw it as a phase and although she was never transphobic, I could tell she didn’t totally understand. She has since taken the time to listen to me and research about trans identities. At first, I didn’t specifically request that she use my new name and pronouns, only telling her so she would know why people were calling me Moss but unprompted she now almost exclusively calls me Moss. It took time but I would now call my mum my biggest supporter because she made the effort to educate herself and most importantly listened to me, even helping me change my name legally recently."

"One thing that always frustrates me is the double standards society has in comparison between trans and cis people in terms of gender expression. For example, when a cisgender man wears a dress he is praised for breaking the gender binary and pioneering fashion but if a transgender man wears a dress his identity is questioned and he is invalidated. Similarly, the expectation of nonbinary people to look a certain way in order to be considered ‘androgynous enough’ by society is harmful and produces stereotypes that defeat the idea of breaking down binaries. In short, clothing and presentation don’t define gender identity and trans people don’t owe anyone a specific look in order to have their identity respected."

"When I was around 13, a close friend told me they thought they might be genderfluid. At this time I had very little knowledge of the trans community, so they gave me an introduction to some of the identities and the idea of the gender being a spectrum. As they spoke about their experiences and explained trans identities, things began to click and I realised that I was experiencing very similar things and a lot of feelings began to make sense. A while later, I opened up to them and together we experimented with names, pronouns and gender expression- I settled on the label of nonbinary a few years after this period but it was a validating experience to share and really helped me begin to accept myself.

Discovering my gender identity was by no means swings and roundabouts- it was a pinball machine with all the bells, whistles, bright colours and flashing lights. It was exciting and beautiful but also overwhelming and frustrating. I cycled through many many identity labels trying to find what fit: genderfluid, trans masculine, demiboy, demigirl, agender and more but the worst one by far was the period of self doubt and denial. It was a long time coming but I’m proud to be nonbinary, and I won’t be quiet about it any time soon. Being nonbinary is perfect to me, it’s not constricting or defined. It’s beautiful and fluid and creative and expressive, almost like a piece of art that continues to evolve and grow."

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"As I have come out to more and more people I have experienced some change in attitude towards me from people who are not supportive or don’t want to educate themselves which has been difficult, however I have always seen my dog Jasper a great supporter- no matter what I identify as he loves me and sees me no different. When I need a break from all the news of transphobia and discrimination or to ground myself, Jasper is always up to go for a walk or a run and take my mind off of things.


In addition to this, having Jasper around has helped my mum to transition into using my new name: instead of ‘go find (deadname)’ it has become ‘go find Moss’ which he has come to understand. It's very validating that even my dog now recognises me as who I really am. He has also given me confidence to meet people when I’m out with him- in May I attended an anti conversion therapy protest and took Jasper along, having a dog with me started a lot of conversations and I met some interesting people that I wouldn’t have talked to otherwise."

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"When I was younger, I went to swimming training regularly but as I grew up I became more uncomfortable in my body and ended up stopping. At the time I had no idea I was nonbinary but in hindsight, I was beginning to experience gender dysphoria. Now I’ve found swimwear that I feel comfortable in, I like to swim for fun rather than competitively- usually in the sea or lakes as it's a lot more relaxing than a public pool!


Another experience I’ve had with sport is horse riding, which has been very positive for me as a nonbinary person. Competition classes are not split by gender and although the clothing for riding is often tight fitting, it makes me euphoric as it is a representation of something I enjoy doing. Additionally, in recent years, the equestrian community has become rapidly more inclusive and there are many LGBTQ equestrians campaigning for further awareness and visibility. Another aspect about horse riding I like is that at the end of the day, one of the most important things is the rider’s relationship with the horse and not their identity."

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"To me, trans joy comes in many forms. It’s being seen, listened to and respected for who I am, the feeling of love and solidarity that comes from our community and the gender euphoria of creating the version of myself that fits my gender identity through clothing, hair and sometimes makeup. As well as this, trans joy is the cathartic experience that comes from protest- seeing hundreds, if not thousands of supporters turn out to fight for our rights and stand up to those who try to silence and limit us."

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