Entry Tickets: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/my/profile
Suggested £5 donation for exhibition entry. 50% of donations are going to akt, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ young people who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment (https://www.akt.org.uk/what-we-do). I don’t want anyone to be unable to attend due to a lack of funds, you are welcome to enter the exhibition whether you have donated or not.
A few tips before entering:
I highly recommend reading the information below about the exhibition.
When you arrive, you will be placed in the corner of the exhibition room. The start of the exhibition is next to the benches where the pink text box reads ‘Stage 1’, you should start here and make your way around the four stages chronologically.
One way to navigate the exhibition chronologically is by clicking on 'Stage 1' and then at the bottom right side of the screen click the 'next' arrow to be taken to the next piece of art, keep doing this until you finish the exhibition.
Click on the artwork and then on the small (i) icon in the top right corner to view more information, such as the title / date / description.
View on desktop or laptop screens, using chrome or firefox.
Lou owns the copyright of all art shown in the exhibition.
FOR ALL THE WORDS I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO SAY, I HAVE CRIED QUEER TEARS AND MADE ART
This is an exhibition showcasing my relationship with gender and the process of realising and coming to terms with my non-binary gender identity. It is not intended to represent anyone else’s experience. While writing this, I have not come out to friends or family, but for the most part, I believe I will be accepted and loved. I have found the process of understanding, accepting and sharing my identity to be labour intensive; emotionally, physically and intellectually. This scares me. This scares me because if l, as someone who likely has supportive loved ones, will struggle within a society structured around gender binaries, I cannot comprehend the experiences of those without this support.
I have struggled to find the words. The words to communicate what I feel I am on the inside to those on the outside. The feeling is not tangible or static or stable. It is loose and swirly and firey. Creating has helped me process and communicate when words have failed to capture the complexity inside.
I used to think I was a woman. Not because I thought in my head with words ‘I am a woman’ but because I hadn’t questioned that I could be anything else. When I learnt about people who are non-binary I didn’t think that was me, since I hadn’t heard the words inside me, ‘I am not a woman, I am non-binary’. My brain was not communicating with words to me, so I didn’t think to pause to dig deeper.
At one point I started saying in passing conversations, ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if when I’m older I’ll be non-binary’. A while after those nonchalant conversations, I began feeling detached to ‘woman’ and started questioning who I was. I became quiet. No flippant phrases or chilled conversations with friends. I turned inwards. It was and is scary and uncomfortable. It was and is exciting and terrifying and exhilarating. Thinking and drawing and crying and researching and hiding. It’s been exhausting. As soon as I started this wordless dialogue with myself I felt lost. I wanted to go back to not questioning and live my more simple and ‘acceptable’ life as a woman. But once I’d dug deep I couldn’t undig. I had entered a scary depth of unknown. As an open person, it felt disconnecting to be so unable to speak. Talking to others felt intimidating and unattainable without words. I longed for a community of people with similar experiences, where I wouldn’t have to explain myself. I was unsure how to find these people, particularly mid-pandemic.
All of a sudden I could hear and see pronouns and gender binaries everywhere. I felt vulnerable and alone. I felt trapped by the sadness of being invisible and the fear of being seen.
I didn’t and still don’t know how to visualise my future or what the implications could be of coming out. The uncertainty makes me feel unsafe.
Hiding parts of my existence made me feel fragmented, like a cracked fragile glass ready to break. Gradually, the idea of breaking and reforming became more appealing than remaining fragmented indefinitely.
One day I began using jumbled words to talk to my therapist. I knew I didn’t have to answer any unwanted questions. I knew I didn’t need to make sense right away. This helped a lot. I’d find myself in therapy starting many sentences unable to end them. All the words felt wrong and the idea of saying a word that misrepresented how I felt inside felt unbearably uncomfortable. Sometimes all I could do was cry.
For all the words I have not been able to say, I have cried queer tears and made art.
This exhibition is made up of four stages. Each stage is made up of artwork that conveys aspects of my relationship with gender and the process of realising and coming to terms with my identity.
Challenging Gender Boxes
Celebrating Individuality And Self-Definition
Making The Art That I Needed To See
For non-binary people and their allies. (This is not a comprehensive list, it is made up of things that I have found helpful and/or may help others.)
Gender Reveal: ‘Created by journalist and educator Tuck Woodstock, Gender Reveal amplifies the stories of trans and nonbinary folks. The show also serves as a free educational tool for people seeking to learn more about gender’.
NB: My non-binary life: ‘You might have heard the term non-binary. This is how it feels. Join Caitlin Benedict & Amrou Al-Kadhi as they ask the big questions about gender & identity’.
Nonbinary Wiki: Directory of online communities
Just Some Really Great Advice For Anyone Coming Out As Nonbinary
Trans 101 for Parents/Guardians
Nonbinary 101 for Allies
© 2020 by Lou Brown