Pride Month Spotlight: Ash Hardell
Welcome to the 17th installment of our 2019 Pride Month Series! Every day for the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community, including fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Ash Hardell is a trans non-binary Youtuber. They upload many videos about their own experiences within the LGBTQ+ community along with collaborating with others to gain other points of view on LGBTQ+ issues. Ash is indifferent about pronouns, they are okay with she/her, he/him and they/them. In their “I’m Trans.” Video they mentioned preferring the use of all three pronoun sets interchangeably, for simplicity this article will use they/them.
Their channel features a lot of educational content. In their “Queer, Asexual, and Gender Spectrums!” video with Echo Gillette they talk about their feelings regarding each spectrum, explaining how a spectrum is a range between different points, it is not necessarily linear, so ones sexuality or gender can evolve over time in the same way. Ash does not identify as either male or female, however their chest was a cause of major dysphoria for them. A few months after Ash’s surgery, their partner Grace decided on top surgery as well. In their video with Grace, “Talking Top Surgery Results With Grace: 10 vs 2.5 Months Post-Op” they talk about their different experiences with aftercare, healing and other experiences. This video showcases how even with the same doctor and same instructions on how to handle aftercare, results may vary. Everyone has a different body and a different way that they will hurt, heal and scar.
Some of Ash’s videos focus on sexual topics and how to be safe in sexual situations, whether these situations are heterosexual, homosexual, polyamorous, transgender, cisgender, or to just feel comfortable with oneself in more romantic or sexual ways. In “Gender Non-Conforming Lingerie” they talk about what makes them feel “sexy.” Which may be more complicated for trans people, as they may not feel comfortable in traditionally “male” or “female” items. They also talk about the importance of taking risks and why it is okay to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s okay if not every risk ends up being rewarding, some things just will not feel good, but there is also the chance that the experience may be very validating and make you feel attractive.
One of Ash’s videos that personally stands out is “Singular “They” is here to stay :)” where they explain and expand on the use of “they.” Throughout this article “they” has been used as a singular, gender neutral and indefinite pronoun. The American Dialect Society named the singular use of “they” as word-of-the-year in 2015. Multiple authors have also used the pronoun in reference to a singular person. As someone that prefers the use of they/them pronouns it is validating to hear that yes, they are beginning to be more widely received as a singular pronoun.
Not only is Ash an educational Youtuber, but they also wrote “The ABCs of LGBT” which can be purchased here. In the book they outline multiple genders and sexualities, along with sexes and romantic attraction. There are inputs from other LGBTQ+ persons, to give voice their experiences as well. Ash, wanting the book to be accessible, also has a free version of their book available online. This is slightly different than the hardcopy, with less illustrations but the same content. If you would like to learn more about LGBTQ+ terminology and such, the free book is available here.
Ash’s channel has a focus on educational videos for LGBTQ+ persons as well as those that just want to know more. Some videos are NSFW so be aware of that before clicking. Their own experiences along with the experiences of the collaborators they bring in helps to create a more complete picture of important topics for those in the LGBTQ+ Community. They are willing to experiment with emerging content and share the way those things made them feel, which can help those who may be too timid to try.