During my recent lecture at the Humanities Symposium of Utah Valley University, I highlighted, “What’s needed is to be serious and objective about the realities that exist around us. And we see that gender, which is multi-faceted, is not being dealt with seriously and objectively; instead, it’s being reduced to something simpler. That reduction of our understanding has its roots in the effort to exert control over the behavior of people.” An important activist in the fight to break this control is Eva Echo (she/they), who has been shortlisted as Unsung Hero Of The Year 2022 by Diva Magazine and nominated for Positive Role Model (LGBT) in the National Diversity Awards. A writer and public speaker with a special focus on transgender rights and mental-health issues, Eva has made an impact using her own experiences to shed light on what it is to be transgender and to challenge the obstacles confronting gender-diverse people in today’s society. Eva is also a brand ambassador for the London Transgender Clinic; part of Gendered Intelligence’s GIANTS programme; a member of the We Create Space advisory board; and Head of Communication and Engagement at Birmingham Pride. She sits on the Crown Prosecution Service’s hate crime panel and is one of Pride Life Global’s Pride Inclusion advocates. And since 2012 Eva has been a Guinness World Record holder, playing the World’s Largest Full Drum Kit Ensemble.
In the first part of my discussion with Eva Echo, we discuss the power of names and the empowerment of naming oneself, along with the different ways art can help people locate their true selves.