Gender and everything that comes with it
EVER wondered what it means to identify as non-binary, transgender or queer? Author Nevo Zisinwill have you covered.
The self-described "mosaic of masculinities and femininities and non-conformist," will visit the North Coast next month to talk all things gender and sexuality.
Nevo, 23, is a Jewish, queer, non-binary writer, activist and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex, culture and sexuality and is the author of award-winning Finding Nevo, a memoir on gender transition.
For the first time, Nevo will join the stellar line up of the Byron Writers Festival, held in early August, to a run writing workshop, bringing the author's lived experience to help others explore these topics in their own writing.
Nevo said more exploration and awareness around non-binary identification was vital to others journeys.
"I think we know what the mental health statistics are in our community, we've got just less than 1 in 2 young transgender people have ever attempted suicide and our rates of anxiety and depression are through the roof compared to the general population," they said.
"Those conversations are really important because we exist, and we are here and we deserve to be able to live beautiful fulfilling lives. I don't want to be tolerated and accepted I want to be celebrated and embraced.
"It's been proven that when people have supportive loving friends and family and environments they thrive rather than just barely survive. Diversity isn't a chore or a frustrating thing - it's an exciting part of what makes us all human."
No stranger to coming out, Nevo shared a little on their journey which led them to write their memoir Finding Nevo: How I confused everyone.
"I came out initially as a lesbian when I was 15, came out as transgender and as binary when I was 17 - so I initially identified as a binary trans man," they said.
"A few years later I felt non-binary was more of an identity that fit for me.
"I feel like two rigid categories of gendered expectations cannot begin to encompass everything that I am, quite radically I just want to treated like a person instead of expectations.
"I see myself as a mosaic of masculinities and femininities... and don't really conform to either in a strict way. I like to make choices on how I feel rather than what the world wants me to do.
"My memoir humanises the narrative around transgender identity - I think the thing about difference that fuels hatred so much is that we just don't understand each other and don't see each other as humans."
They described the book as fun, light-hearted and easy to digest with universal themes.
Nevo will be part of In Conversation in the school's program as well as on a panel with Benjamin Law on Friday on growing up Queer in Australia.
"I'm really excited to be a guest and just attend the festival," they said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Clementine Ford speak at the writers fest, she is an absolute role model of mine and friend."
Leading up to the Byron Bay Writers Festival on August 1, the Southern Cross University Lismore campus will host a free satellite event 'In Conversation' interview with Nevo on 'gender and everything that comes with it'.
Nevo will be in conversation with Professor William MacNeil, Dean of the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice.
"We are going to be talking about gender and everything that comes with it, I'll be delving into my memoir - which is about growing up as a queer, transgender, non-binary young person in the Jewish communities of Melbourne," they said.
"I'll cover all the iterations of coming out I've experience and how it has led me to work that I do now, , running workshops and educational sessions in schools and workplaces around transgender identity."
The free event is on Thursday August 1, 1.30 - 2.30pm and bookings are essential.
Tickets available at http://byronwritersfestival.com/satellite-events/