1. We asked the BuzzFeed Community what they wanted to know about agender speaker and writer Tyler Ford. They had plenty to ask — and Tyler had plenty to say.
2. When did you realize you were agender?
“I have always felt non-binary identified but I didn’t have the words until I was about 23. I had no idea that non-binary people existed. I had no words to contextualize my experiences. So, my entire life has been spent being confused about my gender identity until I finally happened upon the words and happened upon other people like myself.”
3. Who inspires your fashion and style?
“I feel like… I do? Oh, probably my mom. I grew up with a very fashionable mother. She was always playing around with jewelry and shoes and is obsessed with makeup, and clothing, and fashion. I grew up around that and got to see what’s awesome and fun about expressing your personality through fashion. Other than that, I just generally look for what resonates with me. I love Willow and Jaden Smith also, they’re really rad.
5. How do you stay positive and confident?
Confidence is something that I work at every single day. It does not come naturally and it does not come easily. Even when I know things about myself to be true. I know that I am loved and I know that I am enough and that I am great — I don’t always feel that way. Sometimes I have to work myself up into feeling that way. It takes a lot of practice and it’s a very personal journey. It’s something that I have to find within myself and pull out of myself every single day.
6. How do you combat day-to-day dysphoria?
“For me, I have much less dysphoria now than I have previously in my life only because I’ve come to a point where I’m like alright: physical characteristics mean nothing in relation to gender and no matter what I look like, no matter what my body looks like, no matter what clothes I wear — I’m still agender and that needs to be respected. But everyone’s dysphoria is different and everyone has different levels of dysphoria. My experience is not everyone else’s experience so that’s a very tricky question to answer.”
7. Do you have any tips for dealing with dysphoria when you’re not allowed to transition or present as you’d like to?
“Do little things just for yourself if you can. If you’re not allowed to express my gender in the ways that you see fit try and find safe haven in the privacy of your bedroom, find safe haven wherever you can possibly take it. If that means painting your nails for the night and having to take off the nail polish in the morning, if having your nail painted for even that amount of time provides you with some solace you should absolutely do that for yourself. Find little things that make you happy; find little things that make you feel OK.”
8. Who are your role models for the creative and activist work you do?
“For sure Laverne Cox and Janet Mock is great too. They are brilliant. They, I think Laverne especially, stradles the line so well between being a mainstream media icon and doing amazing trans activist work. That is something I also strive to do.”
10. What is one misconception or false generalization about being agender you hate hearing?
“There are a lot of things I hate hearing. ‘Your pronouns are grammatically incorrect.’ Or, I hate when people assume that I want to eliminate gender. ‘Tyler is alway stalking about being non-binary and they just want to get rid of gender.’
I absolutely don’t want to get rid of gender. I just want the space to identity how I identify and I want everyone to have the freedom to identify how they identify. I want them to express their genders in a way that suits them. I don’t want to get rid of gender, I just want every single person to be able to express their gender without facing violence or harassment.
11. What advice would you have for agender and non-binary people based on your own experiences?
“Safety is always your number one priority. If you cannot come out because it is not safe for you, you do not have to come out. Please, please always take care of yourself first. I know a lot of people have so much anxiety about coming out and they feel pressure to — there is so much connotation with braveness and coming out. That’s totally false, everyone is brave in their own particular way. Whether you come out or don’t come out is a personal choice. Everyone has a different life and has to go through different things. Keep yourself as safe as possible, and I know that’s not always on you. Generally, other people need to be responsible and step up to the plate for your safety but remember that anything that you do and how you identity is always valid and there are people who support you — like me!”
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