I’m Jo. A nonbinary trans person trying to make it in dance. This is where I write about my journey and what it means to be nonbinary in such a gendered, sexist space and what it means to be a professional dancer (which, of course, is a rather vague term).
I am also aroace, white, able-bodied, middle class and have some kind of mental illness that appears to be some mix of anxiety and depression. These identities, placing me in both privileged and disadvantaged positions (dependent on the identity), have just as much impact on my dance as my gender and will also be discussed here.
Too often, trans people are told to be quiet. To sit down and wait our turn for basic human rights. Too often, dancers are taught not to stand up for themselves, to do exactly what the teacher or director says, regardless of consequence. I am writing in an attempt to break these silences that have been forced on me. I am still learning. This isn’t a perfect blog. I won’t always be right. But it’s time I say what I have to say, because it has value, even when it’s completely off the mark (because, in expressing it, I can learn). And hopefully, by writing, I will gain a greater understanding of my position.
(disclaimer: When I’m not doing the dance thing, I’m reading academic articles about folklore and sociology. Which means fancy academic language may creep into these posts because it is the language I am comfortable using. I am more than happy to define, clarify, elaborate, and answer questions if any confusion comes from this, as I am well aware this is not the language many people are comfortable with. I might not get it comprehensible the first time, but I’ll keep trying. I am a strong believer that if you don’t understand what I’m saying, it means that I need to explain it better.)