Ralts: Full Interview
Ralts’ story is provided in the form of a written transcript, which can be accessed by clicking READ THE TRANSCRIPT below.
It comes from a group of interviews conducted at the International Non-Binary Day event at Leeds City Museum on 14 July 2019. The event was organised by Non-Binary Leeds. You can find out more about the group on their Facebook page and in their zine.
Interview by Ray Larman
14th July 2019
RL: This is Ray Larman for West Yorkshire Queer Stories. It is the 14th of July 2019, and I’m here with Ralts, who is gonna introduce themself.
Ralts: Hi, I’m Ralts, I’m 21 and I’m from Castleford.
RL: Okay. So, before we switched on the recorder, you said it was fairly recently that you’d started thinking about being non-binary, so do you want to say a little bit about that?
Ralts: Yeah, like… I never really felt like I fit in, it’s that typical thing of where like you never feel like you fit in in other – with guys or with women. Like, but also, I went to a all boys school, so yeah that shaped things a lot. So it’s like, I never felt like I was one of them, like I never felt particularly… girly or whatever. When I was at university, I made a like, I made a lot more girl friends than guy friends, but never I fully like feel myself in that sphere either, so it’s always been this weird like – I felt for a while I’d just be this weird person who was like, in between and like wouldn’t really have a place, but then I thought, ‘hang on, maybe there’s a thing for this’. And I was like, ‘oh yeah, I’ve heard of non-binary, vaguely, maybe that’s me’. So, I was like, ‘oh maybe I’ll go for that’.
RL: So, in what ways do you feel you were different, like at school and university?
Ralts: … it’s just like… The Typical things, like, all the guys being like horrifically, toxically masculine [laughs] and… like the, there’s always like expectations, like, there’d be like fashion stuff that I’d do that was like, ‘oh’. I remember once at school I was on a school trip and I had these sunglasses, and apparently they were women’s sunglasses, and I was like, ‘what’s the difference?’ So, I dunno, and one time, once at school I was wearing like earmuffs and like everyone was just knocking me ruthlessly, I didn’t even realise earmuffs aren’t supposed to be worn by men – they were just normal black earmuffs, cos it was like, snowing really badly. So, just stupid things like that, which I just never got, and I was like, okay then. If I – and like, whenever I dressed stylishly – but whatever’s meant to be like masculine stylish, I was like, yeah, yeah that’s good but like I never felt particular comfortable. But then, only in the past few weeks have I started to like dress like fully like how I – not fully, actually, cos I don’t feel comfortable doing like more extravagant things, but like I’ve started to dress more as I felt like is me. I feel like, I feel a lot more comfortable, and then other people complement, like, oh someone said you have this wonderful floral jacket, and so like, yeah – I’ve forgotten the original question. But like um, yeah. It was just things I’d never fit into… I just never understood what was expected of me, so I was like I’m not gonna play that game, I’m just gonna do my own thing, yeah.
RL: So, what was it in particular that made you sort of start thinking that you might be non-binary?
Ralts: Yeah, it’s just like I was thinking, cos I was like the weird kid in school, but then at some point it’s like… like when you stop being that and when do you start, like – cos I thought, for a while, I was like, okay I’ll have a position as like the alt guy, but that wasn’t good enough, like, it didn’t, just like saying, oh you’ll be an alt guy and like you’ll never be fully comfortable with like the box you’re put in and you’re just gonna have to live with it, and like hopefully people you know’ll just know like that doesn’t feel as fulfilling as saying, no this is officially like, yeah, my own thing. So, it’s just like er, I don’t know how it came about. Yeah, it’s just like thinking, at what point does just being a really, really heterodox guy cross into another territory. But then, just the – I never really considered non-binary stuff. Like, I was on board with like gay rights and trans rights and everything, but it’s like you always think like, those are other people, that couldn’t be me. But then it’s like, hang on, like, why couldn’t it be you? So, that’s when I was like, yeah, that’s me.
RL: So, have you found a non-binary community?
Ralts: In the last few weeks of university I did make a friend who is non-binary. And like, so I sort of hang out with their tribe a lot and a lot of their friends are also non-binary. So, I did – and I’m still in contact with them and I might be going back down a lot, but basically, as soon as I came back here, after finishing university I’ve just been just working, like fully, so I haven’t had much time – it’s good because it takes your mind off things, but like I haven’t really had time to do anything until literally today, so. Yeah, [? ]
RL: So, what’s it like being here today then?
Ralts: Yeah, cool. Cos I never… I don’t know, for some reason I just thought like, oh like, it’s northern England, you just think everyone’s gonna be like hopelessly like conservative and everything, like socially conservative. But yeah, it’s been like heart-warming to see – cos I thought obviously like Leeds is a university city and stuff and it’s a big city so obviously there’s gonna be people around, but um, so yeah, so that has been like redeeming, for yeah, that’s been good.
RL: We should say what it is today I think for the recording.
Ralts: Oh sorry, it’s the International, is it International Non-Binary Day? So we’re having an event in the Leeds City Museum.
RL: What was it like hearing about the non-binary history from the speakers?
Ralts: Yeah, that stuff was really interesting. Like, I’m really into like the history and linguistics, so it was really interesting to see the thing about the different genders listed in the bible as well. And I did an essay, I did an essay at university about um, like the family and how it relates to international relations; there’s really interesting stuff about like the role of gender in native American societies as well, so… Like, even if, like they said, even if it’s some trendy new thing, like so what, it’s still valid, but it’s not a trendy new thing, like it’s been around for a while, yeah.
RL: So, apart from kinda what’s going on here today, and your friend at university, how have you kind of connected with other non-binary people?
Ralts: Well, I don’t know that many, that’s why I’m here. Like, yeah, at least a few friends from university and then other people here, but that’s it, really, yeah [laughs]
RL: Okay. Nothing online?
Ralts: Er… not particularly. I don’t – like, I follow… I follow like non-binary stuff and like people, but I’ve never like interacted with either fully yet, but yeah.
RL: And what kind of things do you follow then?
Ralts: Er, I dunno, just random people on Twitter. Actually that’s how I discovered this, I just thought as good like, just like general non-binary memes or whatever, and non-binary people and then I thought I’ll follow anything that’s like Leeds-specific and that’s how I found Non-Binary Leeds and Queer Stories.
RL: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
Ralts: Erm… I can’t think of anything, I’m terribly sorry, but no, I think that’s it really.
RL: Okay – oh, actually I have one more question. Do you, do your friends and family know that you’re non-binary?
Ralts: Some of my f… some of my closest friends – I’ve told my closest friends, but I haven’t told my family. But like… yeah, that’s it. Yeah. So, yeah.
RL: Do you wanna say why you haven’t told your family?
Ralts: I don’t know how they’d react [laughs] so, yeah, that’s essentially it. I feel like – cos if I – it’s also like if you don’t feel… if you don’t feel you can be fully out and out like visually non-binary then – if you don’t feel like you can be that anyway, then you don’t need to go through the trouble of hiding it, like once you feel comfortable – once you feel comfortable with being fully non-binary, then you can do the whole thing and then you can have the conversation. But like, there’s no po- I feel like there’s no point rushing into possible like… screaming and violence [laughs] not violence, but like, when you feel like you don’t have to, so. Like, as soon as you say, I feel like once you’re comfortable and in yourself like on the inside and the outside, then you can go ahead and be courageous and tell everyone for like, I feel like if you’re just in the early stages, it’s fine, really.
RL: That’s how you feel?
Ralts: Yeah, yeah.
RL: Okay. Thank you.