Julia Barrera

Breaking Binaries: A Zine on the Gender Non-Conforming Experience

Mentor: Ljiljana Coklin

Breaking Binaries: a Zine on the Gender Non-Conforming Experience is a multimedia, creative project that centers and elevates nonbinary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and gender-diverse+ students at UCSB. This zine aims to encapsulate the rich diversity of experiences, identities, emotions, and perspectives of gender non-conforming young people while also serving as a space for emotional healing, self-exploration, and community bonding. Breaking Binaries features several oral histories from gender non-conforming students, including myself, as well as a host of images, text, and media that represent each student’s personal expression and sense of self. Each oral history is crafted in a different structure or narrative style, reflecting and detailing the individual’s unique background, gender identity experiences, vision for the future, and more enriching and dynamic perspectives. The zine also contains a diverse collection of helpful resources, many recommended by the students themselves, for readers seeking advice or support as they negotiate their gender identities. Purposefully situated within the subversive counter-culture that defines the zine format, Breaking Binaries goes beyond traditional narratives to reflect the transgressive, radical, and transformative positionalities of gender-diverse people in a way that is affirming, respectful, and uplifting. It is my hope that this project humanizes the gender-diverse community and serves as a comfort and introduction to those who use these oral histories to inform their own gender explorations.

Read an excerpt from Julia’s zine Breaking Binaries: A Zine on the Gender Non-conforming Experience.