This is Devon. Devon is an 18-year-old college student at the WESC Foundation, a fan of all kinds of music from Ed Sheeran to Fall Out Boy, a lover of drawing, and an avid gamer. Devon is also non-binary, and recently sat down with me to talk about their experience of sharing this with WESC Foundation staff and students.
The WESC Foundation is a charity based in Exeter which caters for children and young people who are blind or partially sighted and often have other complex needs. Devon has been with the WESC Foundation for 3 years and last year made the decision to come out as non-binary. For Devon, non-binary means that they don’t identify as either male or female, and for this reason they also prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them.
Last September, Devon decided to make a video explaining their decision, which was shown at a staff meeting. “I thought it might help people understand a bit better and hopefully start trying to use the pronouns more,” Devon says. They explained that although their name had previously been Holly, they would like to be known as Devon, a more gender-neutral name, and would feel more comfortable with gender-neutral pronouns.
“I just want people to be themselves,”- Devon.
Devon was nervous to put themself out there but they say the support from everyone at WESC Foundation has been great, especially from Jane, our Pastoral Lead, who has been very accepting. “I feel much happier,” Devon says, “because I’ve realised who I want to be and what I want to do.”
For those nervous about getting the pronouns wrong, Devon says not to worry if they make a mistake but that it’s important to try and make people feel as comfortable as possible. Devon also has some advice to offer for other young people thinking about making the same decision as theirs: “take as much time as you need to think things over,” they say, “I just want people to be themselves.”
If you need advice or more information, please visit the Stonewall website.
By Ellie Howlings, Supporter Engagement Officer at WESC