GABRIEL WILLEM (HE/HIM)
(OR THEY/THEM IF YOU'RE FEELING SPICY)
"Hi! My name is Gabriel Willem and I'm studying at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to get my MFA in Acting. I am American and originally from Indiana, but lived in Champiagn-Urbana for the last few years while I did my undergrad degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am an actor, artist, translator, activist, and avid coffee drinker. As an artist, I am very passionate about more trans representation on stage and screen. I want to be the person I wanted to see in media when I was a kid."
"Visibility means being out for people that can't be. Since coming out, I've realized how much easier it would've been for me to come out if I'd known more trans people in person/online. I hope to be visible and easily accessible on the internet for other trans/non-binary/questioning people to reach out to me.
Being visible means being open about what it took to get me to where I am and to be here and be loud for those that can't be. For me, visibility isn't about myself - it's all for other trans people."
"I want to be the person I wanted to see in media when I was a kid."
QUESTION: HOW CAN WE HELP SUPPORT YOU?
"Follow me on Instagram @gabe.willem to keep up with my art/more time sensitive pages to donate directly to trans people in need.
As someone from outside the UK, stay as aware of trans rights worldwide as much as you can! Trans rights are threatened all over the world and sometimes your love and support is needed outside the UK. If you can, I am a huge fan of https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ and their work for queer youth in the United States."
"Being trans is amazing. It's finally feeling like myself in my body, understanding who I am as a person, how I fit into other communities, everything. I love being a resource for other queer people, in fact there are a lot of people that talked to me in the early stages of them coming out, and I call them my trans babies. I am so honored to be that person for people and it truly is my favorite thing about being trans.
As always, being trans is exhausting, and that's the hardest part. I purposely use my Instagram as a place where I can teach people about our experiences, so that way I can limit myself in person from feeling like I need to answer personal questions to any random person who asks."
QUESTION: IS THERE A PARTICULAR MYTH OR PIECE OF MISINFORMATION ABOUT TRANS PEOPLE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT?
A lot of people assume that all trans people are open/willing to talk about their experiences. Even if you're part of the LGBTQ+ community, always ask your trans friends if they feel comfortable talking about it. Being trans is hard and sometimes we don't want to talk about it with people who are cis (even people like me who are very open on social media)
Also - not all trans people are queer! Trans people can be straight or any other sexuality!!!
"I moved to Bristol in September for school, all amidst the pandemic, so I haven't really been able to be trans out in Bristol. I have loved finding trans spaces online, like this project, and they make me very excited about being able to meet other trans/queer people when the world starts opening up again.
I chose the Downs because it's a huge outdoor space that is so special to Bristol, so many huge cities don't have large parks/green spaces like this. It's so close to where I live/spend most of my time and I feel lucky to have such a beautiful place to connect with nature near me."