Ree’s Story | Stonewall
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A Wednesday Holmes illustration of Ree. Ree is in the middle of the illustration, they are wearing a football t-shirt and holding a sign which says, ‘disabled and proud’.

Ree’s Story

Discover Ree’s story through school and university and into work as a non-binary person with epilepsy.

Illustration by Wednesday Holmes @hellomynameiswednesday

Key themes: school, university, disability, work

A Wednesday Holmes illustration of Ree. Ree is in the middle of the illustration, they are wearing a football t-shirt and holding a sign which says, ‘disabled and proud’. The illustration also shows Ree in Arizona, Ree in workplaces where they experienced ableism and transphobia, Ree cutting their hair short, and Ree enjoying their current job at Scope where they can be themself as an LGBTQ+ person.

I realised I was different in primary school when peopled began pointing out that all my friends were boys. I was called names, but I didn’t understand the words and I ignored it. When I got older, I realised something was off again when my friends began dating and I wasn’t as interested.

I realised at about 14 that I was LGBTQ+, but I didn’t want to tell anyone because I thought there was no point. I became inspired by actors and footballers, and I got more active through politics in my community.

I was dealing with doctors a lot at this time in school because of my epilepsy, so I was also misgendered a lot. However, I felt that I didn’t have time to focus on that because my health was a priority.

When I left school and went to university, it felt like my health had finally been sorted and I started to share with new trusted friends how I felt. I was also able to spend time abroad in Arizona and I met some of my closest friends there.

I still didn’t feel okay though. My gender felt fake. I felt stuck and I didn’t know how to get out. Just before the pandemic, I decided to shave my head to raise money for epilepsy. It was a close cause to my heart, but this also meant I could now actually express myself.

Since then, people have treated me differently, but lots of people have also been awesome. I now volunteer for Just Like Us as an ambassador and my girlfriend, who is a cis lesbian, helps me deconstruct my gender and sexuality while I understand myself as a non-binary lesbian. I still struggle with labelling myself, but I have come to accept that this may change and that it’s totally okay to change.

I was always afraid to be myself at work, I thought I was more employable as a woman than I was as someone non-binary. I had a string of jobs where I didn’t come out at work because there wasn’t even an option on the workplace systems to be non-binary.

However, at Scope I’ve never been more supported to be myself as an LGBTQ+ person and as a disabled person. In pride month, I shared my journey with colleagues, and my boss and my whole team are always behind me.

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