May 21, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Ezra Black explores gender euphoria with new zine

3 min read
What are your pronouns? And once you found them, what makes you happy about them? Ezra Black is reaching out to Eugene's transgender community for his new zine about gender euphoria.

It’s hard to imagine any kind of euphoria in this day and age. With the news constantly showing us the polarization of what’s considered right and wrong, where do we find the joy within ourselves? For Ezra Black, a transgender male, this became the very root of a project he’s working on this year with the Eugene community. SOJC’s Melvin Bravo has more detail.

Melvin Bravo: It’s not just one or two, it’s both. It’s a community; it’s they, it’s he/him with she/her, it’s mixed but individually represented. But what is your representation? Your pronoun? And once you found it, what makes you happy about it? Or as Ezra Black likes to put it: your gender euphoria?

Ezra Black: I think it’s feeling comfortable and confident whenever you’re perceived as your gender, whether that’s in what you wear or how you present yourself in other ways, like mannerisms, or shapes of your body parts.

Melvin Bravo: Ezra’s been working on a zine for this project, which those unfamiliar with the term is short for magazine. It’s a self-published booklet themed around the message or idea using multimedia and self-expression as its medium. And for this zine, he’s reaching out to the transgender community in Eugene to give light and ask.

Ezra Black: So the project that I’m working on is a zine that’s about gender euphoria. And I’m taking pictures of folks to include in the zine and interviewing them about their gender: their gender presentation; their pronouns; what makes them feel euphoric about their bodies and their presentation.

Melvin Bravo: One of the first people Ezra got to interview was Casey Watson, a Head Start teacher, avid hiker, and a centric thinker that both supports and understands the transition of what people are going through. And although Casey isn’t transgender, she is still part of the LGBTQ body that represent gender identity.

Ezra Black: What are some clothing items and features of your body that make you feel gender euphoria?

Casey Watson: I feel pretty euphoric when I wear just plain white Hanes T-shirts with an undershirt, some jeans, maybe overalls. I like that my face isn’t feminine or masculine, so I like that my face is kind of androgynous.

Melvin Bravo: Really what inspired Ezra to do this was his own experience growing up and finding a home within people he can connect with.

Ezra Black: I love our queer community and queer joy. So celebrating the things about us that make us us, and which are things that society has in different ways told us it isn’t okay to feel and we should feel wrong about how we experience gender.

Melvin Bravo: Another person interviewed was Andy Milward, a transgender from Portland, and instead of being asked about gender euphoria, Ezra went ahead and asked him, ‘Do you ever feel gender dysphoria?’

Andy Milwood: I feel like I still do a little bit. I think also just kind of shifting how I think about gender in general and gender expectations, because I think a lot of things that I worry about, and things that are dysphoric, aren’t things that are actually just specific only to trans men. There’s a lot of cis men that are also short and have hips and sit down to pee and things like that.

So I think, yeah, just kind of shifting how I think about that because a lot of it is not based on reality for a lot of people whether they’re cis or trans.

Ezra Black: I think that society largely doesn’t really think that much about their own gender. They were assigned the gender that they were at birth, and for a lot of people that aligns with them. And it kind of stops there.

Melvin Bravo: However, with the zine, Ezra hopes to open a platform for people to read and see, for people to think about who they are and what brings them joy, what brings them peace of mind.

From the SOJC (School of Journalism and Communications), this is Melvin Bravo, wishing you a happy, prideful journey. Take care.

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