We sat down with Lucy Fizz, British trans model and dancer and star of the new Smirnoff 'We're Open' film, about some of the most common preconceptions surrounding the trans community.
For those who may not know you, please tell us a bit about yourself...
I’m a performance artist and dancer. Part of the family at London’s mega drag party Sink the Pink, I also dance at East London late night queer hotspot Savage and am one of the faces of disco club night Glitterbox both in Ibiza and the UK. I have recently completed an award winning documentary with film maker Melinte Reitezema about my life as a transgender woman.
What does gender expression mean to you?
Gender expression is a personal choice. Why should the way that you dress or the interests you have be dictated by your body parts?
Has it been difficult for you being a trans woman?
At times life has been difficult living as a trans woman. Like many other trans people I have been subjected to transphobic behaviour, bullying and rejection by loved ones but on the whole I have had a relatively privileged experience. I am very grateful for the support I have received from friends and family and for the healthcare I was provided by the NHS.
Why is it important to support gender non-conforming people?
Many trans and gender non-conforming people are faced with a more difficult experience than I have been, whether that’s in the form of family rejection, discrimination in the workplace, access to healthcare or transphobic abuse. According to the ‘2015 U.S. Trans Survey’ 40% of respondents had attempted suicide (9 times the national average).
This is why the Smirnoff #weareopen campaign is important to me. By celebrating the people in the campaign, Smirnoff is saying that they stand together with the trans and gender non-conforming community as an ally. In showing others that the diversity with the LGBT community is something to celebrate hopefully we can further open up the conversation, help increase awareness and help bring an end to the discrimination faced by trans and gender non-conforming individuals.
What would you say to someone who says that being trans isn’t ‘natural’?
Enforcing gender stereotypes on people is not natural. Everyone is different, that’s part of the beauty of life. The way you express yourself, shouldn’t be determined by what’s in your pants.
Why is it important to have positive role models and who were yours growing up?
When I was growing up in a small town in the north of England I didn’t really have any positive trans role models in my life. The internet wasn’t what it is now so I struggled to find much information about being trans and as a teenager all I really remember seeing of trans-people in the media was them being spoken about in a negative way. Without the network of LGBT friends that I am lucky to be surrounded by now, I had nobody that I could talk to or really relate my experiences to. It was a very isolating experience. It is great to see these attitudes changing thanks to much hard work by some truly amazing people but unfortunately there is still a long way to go and trans and gender non-conforming folk face abuse on a daily basis. If I can share my experiences and show people that I’m here hopefully I can help to make a difference. I know that when I was sixteen and struggling with my gender identity I would have benefited from seeing trans-people celebrated in this way.
What message would you like to give to someone being bullied for expressing who they are?
Tell someone about it. If you feel like you have nobody you can talk to on a personal level there are organisations that can help like the LGBT Foundation, Mermaids and Gendered Intelligence.
I know at times it can be so hard and feels like you are fighting against the whole world, just to be yourself but you are not alone. There are people out there fighting tirelessly to bring about positive change, people who want to celebrate you for being yourself.
Tell us more about what you're doing with Smirnoff and what they're doing to support you…
As part of the #weareopen campaign and Smirnoff’s partnership with LGBT Foundation, I will be working with both teams to help expand upon the campaign to help to bring about positive change for the trans and gender non-conforming community.