Words: Alastair James; pictures: Francisco Gomez de Villaboa
The non-binary fashion student, Kieran Pruett, says they want cisgender people to educate themselves about the trans and non-binary communities, not rely on others to do the work.
Speaking to Attitude earlier this year, Kieran also says that they find it hard to get past their own misogyny sometimes when it comes to expressing their identity.
"Generally the reception of my gender has been quite positive," they say although they add there are "a few people who are uncertain about it all".
Viewing gender as "a kind of malleable, playful thing" Kieran recognises that not everyone else does and many "still view it as something quite concrete." They add that they're proud of their identity and happy to speak about their journey as non-binary.
However, they want cis-gendered people not in the queer community to educate themselves rather than rely on trans and non-binary people to do so.
"It's not our job to do so and we're not walking resources that you can just pick up. We're human beings trying to survive in this society that won't accept us."
Kieran's relationship with their body has fluctuated since coming out as non-binary, and in particular, they've experienced body dysmorphia mostly due to a lack of visible representation.
On how this has impacted them Kieran says: "I think I've been so indoctrinated to believe what all these genders should wear and I think sometimes it's hard for my own mind, or my own misogyny, to get past it," adding it's frustrating when people put them in a box, especially men.
Explaining that "it's quite frustrating" when people ask about whether they're getting gender reassignment surgery or not, Kieran reminds us that it's not "the end goal for everyone" in the trans and non-binary communities.
"The beauty of our community is the fact that we're all different and we all come in different shapes and sizes. That makes us all beautiful and powerful," they affirm.
Looking back at their youth, the 21-year-old says they always felt different, but not "in a queer way". Kieran reveals it stopped them from doing things like going to clubs and interacting with people.
"I think when I was about 17 I got into a situation in my life where I was just so unhappy and I thought I need to turn it around and I need to do what is going to make me happy and that would be coming out as non-binary.
"When people look at me [now] I think 'if they're going to stare then at least give them something beautiful to look at'."
Kieran also says they find the fetishisation of trans people's bodies on some queer dating apps frustrating, "almost too much" and "a bit offensive".
Continuing they say, "All trans people deserve the same respect as any human being and we deserve to be loved. we're not an experiment to be played with. We are people."
The Attitude February issue is out now.