Using gender-neutral pronouns causes no harm. Referring to people by the pronouns they choose, is basic to human dignity. And being referred to by the wrong pronouns, particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Trans. Queer. Gender Fluid. Non-Binary. Younger generations are becoming more educated on all the terms that are available to us, and naturally less people identify with the only two terms a lot of the world have been taught are available. Making assumptions about someone’s identity based on their looks can be insensitive.
‘Genitals ≠ Gender’ is a campaign to support those who choose not to be defined by the terms that society has defined as standard. Especially as fluidity is becoming increasingly visible. Using gender-neutral pronouns means we don’t associate the person we’re talking about with the false gender binary of male or female. When we use the right pronouns for someone, they are more acknowledged and validated.
Each model has a story to tell. They all believe that positive representation matters in art, fashion and in the media – they want to see more people who look like they do. Their views on gender diversity and identity help to make personal pronouns commonplace. Created for International Pronouns Day to bring awareness of this issue.
Benny identifies as non-binary and prefers to use the pronoun ‘they’, however Benny is fine with being referred to as ‘he/she’, should the person speaking be aware he/she is slang in this instance. As a non-binary model, Benny says he is casted for certain types of work and goes on to tell us, “when I first began modelling, I was only booked on jobs that wanted me to look, what they believe, a ‘man’ looks like. I’ve been told at a shoot before: “try to think about girls” because my body language is feminine, or maybe my limp wrist was just screaming ‘I’m a homosexual and this will affect the product in question’ in their heteronormative world”.
Laiah identifies as transgender and prefers the pronouns ‘she/her.’ She tells us “a personal pronoun matters because it’s my way of controlling how I see myself in order for others to see me that way.” She continues to talk about representation of gender nonconforming people in advertising and “brands that came to mind that have championed a narrative of inclusivity are Calvin Klein and Fentyxsavage. Both have made a real impact as far as changing perceptions, challenging cultural norms and opening the world up to new concepts of what is truly beautiful, unique and authentic.”
Adrian identifies as non-binary and prefers the pronouns ‘he’ or ‘they’. He goes on to say, “I’m definitely bi, trans, queer and plus (non-binary/both genders). I’ve also ID’d as both the L and G as well at some point in my life. It’s been quite a journey.” Adrian says “I’m constantly mis-labelled. A lot of people assume I’m a trans woman and ID as female, which is not my story. I feel like there’s no label that really fits me perfectly I see myself as being no gender or both.”
Dol is a non-binary and prefers to be identified with the pronouns ‘they’ or ‘them’. they tells us “being non binary, I’m not sure gay/lesbian quite fits right for me. Lesbian has always had a huge stigma for me as there has been so much sexualised media and talk that “lesbian” seemed like a horrible thing. Queer - although used as a slur through history - is a term I feel most comfortable with as I feel power in reclaiming the word. It is a word that I feel is an umbrella and doesn’t stick with any particular gender or which leaves it open for me to fall in love with whoever I please without feeling as though I am invalidating myself.”
Dol adds that people tend to stereotype what the LGBTQIA+ image should “look” like. “Lesbian women are expected to look “butch”, gay men are expected to look “flamboyant”, trans women are expected to look like “men in wigs”, and trans men are expected to look like “tomboys”. I truly could go on for pages talking about how stereotypes are forced upon the community and the damage that it causes us all - specifically young people who are trying to figure out where in this world they belong and who they truly are. Should anyone go against the “norm” we are considered liars or “deceiving” because others can’t figure us out.” A piece of advice she would like to pass on is that “those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind.”
Jordan’s a transgender model who’s preferred pronouns are ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’. She says “personal pronouns matter when used correctly, as it affirms and reaffirms that I am somewhat understood, and respected on a basic level.”
Arron is a gay model who’s preferred pronouns are ‘He/Him/His’. He goes on to say “Persons pronouns matter because it is part of their gender identity, using someone’s correct pronouns is a sign of respect.” And he goes on to say “I identity with LGBTQIA+, mostly with G, gay. I think like many minorities, including LGBTQIA+, people always wrongly use stereotypes. It’s dated, offensive and boring.”
Created by beauty & portrait photographer Elise Dumontet and Paul Hogarth & Elspeth Lynn of the agency Unbound, the ‘Genitals ≠ Gender’ is a campaign to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. The ‘Genitals ≠ Gender’ campaign is not a fight against gender, but a way to empower individuals with a sense of pride. Elise explores the definition of identity. And helps other to understand it.