PHOTOS and VIDEO | Sugar and Slime, Snails and Spice: What Is Gender Made Of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Slime and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails
That's what little boys are made of
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice 
That's what little girls are made of.


I have been on the hunt for a little while looking for a photographer/team of people to help me realize an art vision for myself. Because I identify as non-binary and have both masculine and feminine qualities to myself, I was looking to do a photoshoot, a series of shots in various poses done twice--once in masculine attire, and once in feminine attire..

When Eliot found us online and approached us about fulfilling a long dream of theirs, the only answer we had was yes. We have not only learned so much from Eliot, but have opened our eyes and hearts to this subject and the importance of moving towards a more open and accepting world. We hope you can find some inspiration through this project and that it can help anyone on the same journey. 


"As someone who identifies as genderqueer, I am fascinated by the degree to which Western culture prescribes and enforces rigid understandings of binary gender. I am not (and do not see myself as) just a boy or just a girl--but whatever that may mean to me is often lost to the public eye because of the pervasive understanding of gender as "one or the other."

Although we would all individually agree that men would not magically become women if forced into a dress, and women do not become men by wearing pantsuits, in practice, people tend to "read" my gender identity according to a very narrow interpretation of what makes a "girl" or a "boy" based on what clothing I am wearing--and punish me for pushing against or stepping outside this narrative.

Just like you, I am the same person each day, whether I am wearing a vintage dress and a colourful wig or snazzy shoes and a pressed shirt. Who ever decided that only men could wear oxfords or women wear skirts? Gender, when taken as originally offered, is stale and artificial. It is my hope that with this project, graciously brought to life by Dream Love Grow, we can all push back against such binary--and boring!--interpretations of gender, and be a little more free to express our truest selves in whatever clothing makes us most happy."

- Eliot K. Waddingham


BIO:

Eliot K. Waddingham is a self-proclaimed gender bandit, stealing the good aspects of various genders and leaving the rest behind. Eliot is currently employed as lead researcher at the history "edutainment" company Bold and Mighty (http://www.boldandmighty.com). When not digging through 100-year old documents for their job, Eliot is finishing an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa with a Specialization in History.

They also conduct workshops on gender. In their (infrequent) spare time, Eliot enjoys knitting and embroidery, and has a weakness for soy lattes and science fiction. They currently live in Ottawa with their two cats, Bobby and Zelda. You can follow Eliot's blog at http://www.eliotinterchange.com, or contact them at: kcwaddingham@gmail.com 


DISCLAIMER:

The purpose of this project is to encourage awareness of and compassion for people outside the gender binary. Often,  this is easier to do when the theoretical becomes personable. Eliot has agreed to speak openly about their journey as part of a movement to a more open and accepting world.

For this video,  Eliot was interviewed by a close friend, and addresses some issues that are not normally appropriate or kind or ask about. The participants in this project encourage you to tread with compassion around the journeys of your transgender or nonbinary friends and neighbours. Please remember that for many,  these are deeply personal issues,  and unsolicited prying is not appropriate.

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Photography: Mailyne Briggs
Female Make-up: Mailyne and Brooke Trealout
Male Make-up: Brooke Trealout


IF ELIOT WERE A LADY...

IF ELIOT WERE A MAN...

ELIOT WOULD BE, THE BEST PERSON THEY CAN...