We caught up with activist and model, Char Ellesse, to talk allyship and her educational creative platform, girlswillbeboys, an online space blurring the lines between gender roles, exploring modern ideas of femininity and masculinity through content creation.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
“I'm Char Ellesse, the founder of an online storytelling platform called girlswillbeboys, and I create content for brands. I'm pretty outspoken on my Instagram, and I model occasionally. Honestly, I fell into all of it, purely through trial and error and being a curious Sagittarius.”
We love your platform girlswillbeboys. What inspired you to create it?
“GWBB started as an androgynous fashion blog with a friend of mine, but I wanted it to be more than that and felt a need for a community with discussions of people's journeys to self-acceptance. I relaunched it with my first film Omg She’s Bald, which passed the mic on women’s experiences of shaving their heads et voila, here we are!”
Allyship is a term frequently spoken about in relation to global movements. But what steps can others take to show true allyship to the LGBTQIA community?
“It's just about consistency, and doing it when no one’s watching. We've seen a lot of performative activism online, but the work continues offline and needs to influence those around you in day to day life who aren't exposed to these kinds of discussions.”
Why are the use of pronouns so significant for both binary and non-binary people today?
“It just normalises something that's so important to certain members of a marginalised community. It's one step towards creating ease and normality in making sure you're not assuming someone’s gender through their gender expression and your ideas of how they identify. It's so easy. It's the least we can do as allies towards the trans community.”
A lot of external prejudices arise due to people’s internal fears. How can we work together to dismiss unfounded narratives that can lead to ignorance and othering?
“My mum always says that you don't have to fully understand something to respect it, and that’s always stuck with me. We need to just be open to having discussions with people whose experiences aren't our own, instead of trying to tell people about themselves. Don't try to fight what they say out of curiosity, just listen, respect what they're saying and keep it pushing.”
Which big (or small) changes do you want to see in the immediate future?
“The abolition of our white supremacist world, everything else will flow from that - here's hoping.”
What’s next for you? Have you got anything coming up that you’d like us to know about?
“I want to take my focus back to projects I had lined up for GWBB. The pandemic really spun us and set us back but I want to get the ball rolling with all the exciting things I had planned for the community. I also cannot wait to throw my next GWBB event, I've missed it so much!”
Find Char here.
Discover girlswillbeboys here.