Tyler Ford is an agender writer, speaker, media personality, and model. They (Tyler’s pronoun of choice) was named recently named one of Dazed's 100 visionary talents shaping youth culture, and one of MTV's best social media stars in 2015.
1. Can you describe your work for those who aren’t familiar with it?
I am a queer, agender person who writes and speaks on trans and LGBTQ+ topics via several avenues (major publications, universities, mainstream media). I use my life experiences as a jumping-off point into discussion and education on social issues.
2. How did you build this platform for yourself to be an activist by age 25?
Social media is the sole reason I have a platform. I was on a TV show (The Glee Project 2) in 2012, which is how I started to build my Twitter audience, and then separately within the same year, my poetry went viral on Tumblr and I realized that I really had something going for me with my creative output. The more writing I published, the more my audience grew.
3. What do you think is it about your work that people really respond to?
They enjoy, learn from, and believe in what I do. I haven’t done it alone - there are thousands of people whose entry point to my work has been via artists with massive global platforms like Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande, but I’m so glad those followers stick around.
4. You designed a t-shirt that says “Confidence is a process.” What does that process look like for you now?
Right now, my process involves working on disentangling work and productivity from my self-worth. I’m working on feeling full, satisfied, and worthy even on my worst days when I can’t pull myself out of bed, or on days when I merely don’t have any sort of physical work or accomplishments to show for myself. I am working on feeling like I, myself, am enough. Journaling helps - if I can see my feelings on paper, I can address them and work through them more easily. This work will take years, but perhaps the most important work I can do for myself is to find peace within myself.
5. One of your goals is to “make the world a safer place for those of us who are marginalized.” What is one thing that you think the average person can do to help facilitate this?
Combat your instinct to be defensive or hostile toward people who are different from you and seek to understand them instead. Educate yourself on the issues impacting the people around you.
6. You told Interview: “I do media work to see myself represented in areas that have never held a mirror to me.” Do you think the fashion industry is beginning to genuinely welcome diversity? Or is there still a very marked void?
The fashion industry is actually where I feel the least accepted/desired, even though modeling and fashion are huge passions of mine. Many brands are very clearly trying to profit off of trans folks and intersectionality/diversity as a concept without actually understanding intersectionality or supporting trans people of color and other marginalized folks. There’s definitely a void, and a lot of “representation” falls short.
7. What individuals/brands do you think are really making an impact right now (for whatever reason)?
Everyone I follow on Twitter, but to name a few folks: Doreen St. Félix, Kim Drew, Arabelle Sicardi, Jen Richards, Travis Alabanza, Zoé Samudzi, Franchesca Ramsey, and Christine Sun Kim.
8. In fashion/art/society, I wish there was less … Racism, LGBTQ-antagonism, ableism, judgment, elitism.
9. In fashion/art/society, I wish there was more … Inclusion and compassion.
10. What was the last thing that really fascinated you?
I just started taking an SSRI [Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors], and as someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, I’m fascinated by how it’s been changing my life!
* '10 Questions With' is The Fashion Law's newest series. It features brands and individuals we believe are doing it right and making an impact in the fashion industry and beyond.