To mark LGBTQ+ History Month, we interviewed Kit Million Ross, LGBTQ+ Editor of Bristol 24/7, an independent online newspaper for the city.
We talked about queer culture in Bristol, what’s still to be done to promote inclusivity, the importance of LGBTQ+ History Month and we get their top five tips for learning more.
What pronouns do you use?
I use they/them pronouns.
What do you love about your job?
First of all, I just love writing. And I love feeling really deeply connected to Bristol’s wider LGBTQ+ community.
There are so many awesome queer people, groups and communities doing wonderful things in Bristol, and the fact that I’m constantly discovering these things is such a joy. Bristol has a uniquely broad and diverse queer culture that I think few cities can match.
What responsibility do you feel in your job as LGBTQ+ Editor at Bristol 24/7?
I feel a real responsibility to the grassroots aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. I feel incredibly lucky to have access to the Bristol 24/7 platform, and I want to use that to tell the stories of those who don’t get heard.
I also want to bring light, uplifting things to people. Share things that people can enjoy and gain benefit from and hopefully put some good into the world.
Why is it important for universities to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month?
I think it is really important for universities to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month because so much of queer history has been buried and hidden.
We need to bring our history to light and celebrate the role that queer people have had. It’s an opportunity to bring more understanding to people, and that should be seized.
Kit studied both BA(Hons) Drama with Creative Writing and MA Radio Documentary at UWE Bristol.
How were LGBTQ+ role models important to you whilst you were a student?
Role models within university and generally within queer culture have always been important to me and my friends – to have LGBTQ+ role models who are able to be out and proud within all of sort of the academic areas – queer people doing awesome things not just in the arts but in science, medicine, engineering. In fact, doing anything and everything.
It comes back to the phrase you can’t be what you can’t see.
I realised I was non-binary, I was trans, when I was in my final year of my undergraduate course. I was scrolling through Tumblr blogs and I saw a definition ’genderflux’ and it connected with me deeply. At university I was introduced to trans people and it showed me that being non-binary was okay, it was ‘a thing’.
Can you describe a time someone made you feel especially included or supported?
When I was doing my masters, I was writing cover letters and I was quite hesitant to mention that I was non-binary and also that I’m autistic, because I worried that it would look like I was ‘playing the diversity card’ or trying to make myself look like a ‘diversity hire’.
I was speaking to Dr Anne Harbin from the Journalism department and she encouraged me to mention these things, because they represent a unique and valuable perspective that should be shared and heard. That made me realise that these aren’t just details about me, they’re things that are valuable to the world.
The theme for LGBTQ+ History Month this year is Politics in Art: The Arc Is Long, which prompts us to think about the journey, how far we’ve come and also what is still to be achieved.
What do you see as the greatest achievements of the LGBTQ+ community in the last few years?
It’s really hard to say because so much has happened. In terms of achievements, the first thing that springs to mind is the change to the marriage laws.
But in terms of societal changes and shifts, I think the community is just getting a lot more attention and traction. I think that the way LGBTQ+ representation in the media has changed is a really significant achievement. It’s something that ripples outwards and feeds into popular understanding.
What work do you think is still to be done to promote inclusivity and understanding?
As a trans person, I think trans rights in this country have a long way to go.
The rise of narratives that trans and queer people are a threat is deeply concerning. For me, if your feminism doesn’t include all women, including trans women, it is incomplete.
I think we need to think more about intersectionality, about the layers of difficulties that marginalised people face. Within queer culture we need to think about people of colour, disabled people, and other groups, and the way that these things stack and intersect and how that actually impacts upon people’s unique experience in the world.
We should ask ourselves – are the things we’re doing for queer rights actually available, applicable and accessible to large groups of people within the population?
There’s a lot of learning still to be done. What are your top 5 recommendations for where our readers can learn more about LGBTQ+ issues?
Logical Family – A Memoir by Armistead Maupin, Harper 2017.
Quick and Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson, Oni Press 2018.
Gender Reveal by journalist and educator Tuck Woodstock, explores the vast diversity of trans experiences through interviews with a wide array of trans, nonbinary and two-spirit people.
Out with Suzi Ruffell, is a podcast all about the inspiring lives of LGBTQIA+ people. Comedian Suzi Ruffell talks about coming out, being out, and finding one’s place in the world as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Bristol24/7 Queer Catch-Up – An eight episode podcast series by Kit and Lowie Trevena exploring all things Bristol and LGBTQ+.
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