Gender, identity and why words matter

Join us for a conversation with young Melbourne activist and author Nevo Zisin as they discuss gender, identity, relationships and finding a sense of place.

Nevo Zisin is a young activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality. Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning to present as male at the age of 17, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female/male gender binary. They work particularly with children as a youth leader and through running programs and workshops in schools. They are also a contact point in the Jewish community for other children and families confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives.

Nevo will be signing copies of their autobiography Finding Nevo, which will be available to purchase on the night thanks to Fullers bookshop.

Nevo will be in conversation with researcher/writer/film maker Dr Son Vivienne from RMIT’s Creative Agency and Digital Ethnography Research Centre.

About Finding Nevo:

“This is a thoughtful and timely personal memoir by a young Melbourne author and activist about their sexuality and nonbinary gender identity. Nevo was a tomboy during primary school and identified as a lesbian during high school, before coming out as transgender. At 20, Nevo is constructively self-reflective when writing about relationships with their family, friendships, bullying, mental health and their place within both the Jewish and queer communities. They discuss their transitioning processes, such as obtaining and taking testosterone, and their identity outside of a female/male gender binary. Although this book will be of particular interest to queer and/or gender-questioning young people, Nevo’s story is impactful and it’s an enriching, worthwhile read for a much wider audience. For young adult readers,” Kim Gruschow, Readings.

“Amid the controversy over the government’s Safe Schools program, stories like Nevo Zisin’s are crucial in helping us all better understand what it means to be transgender. Finding Nevo traces the stages 20-year-old Nevo went through in coming to an understanding of what it meant to be the person in the mirror. Nevo identified as a boy from an early age even though society identified Nevo as a girl. While Nevo’s sense of gender dysphoria ultimately led to hormone treatment and breast removal, being conventionally masculine felt wrong. “Maybe I was neither male nor female, man or woman…Once I recognised [that gender is socially constructed], a liberating thing happened. I started to look at myself as a human being.” Finding Nevo leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the arbitrariness of binary gender divisions and how they box us all in,” Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald.

“A gorgeous coming of age story about one person’s journey to discover themselves. Zisin is a compelling storyteller with a delightful and exciting new voice,” Clementine Ford.

About Son Vivienne:

Dr Son Vivienne is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Creative Agency and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Their principal expertise is digital self-representation, online activism, queer identity, and rhetorical strategies/feminist practices for speaking and listening across difference. Son is also involved in community development and arts as an activist, workshop facilitator and media-maker. Son is author of Digital Identity and Everyday Activism: Sharing Private Stories with Networked Publics (Palgrave Macmillan) and co-author/co-editor of Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest, Culture (Rowman & Littlefield).

Son curates several collective storytelling websites for queer (www.rainbowfamilytree.com) and gender-diverse (www.storiesbeyondgender.com) communities and has over twenty years of multi-media production and distribution experience. As an award-winning writer/director/producer of drama and documentaries, they tackled subjects as diverse as youth suicide; drug cultures in Vietnamese communities; and lesbian personal columns. Their film work includes multi-lingual (Vietnamese-English and Adnyamathanha-English) and multi-modal (animation, micro-docs, digital storytelling and interactive web-platforms) projects that reflect their comparative, cross-cultural and critical approaches to communication and storytelling.


This event is hosted by the Institute for the Study of Social Change and Working It Out as part of Social Sciences Week (SSW),which is an initiative of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA).

SSW is an opportunity for social scientists to engage non-academic audiences with cutting edge social science research, to showcase the diversity and relevance of social science. It will include interactive community and school-based events, bringing the social sciences to life, particularly for the next generation of university students, social scientists and citizens.

Dr Son Vivienne is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Creative Agency and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT. Their principal expertise is digital self-representation, online activism, queer identity, and rhetorical strategies/feminist practices for speaking and listening across difference. Son is also involved in community development and arts as an activist, workshop facilitator and media-maker. Son...
Nevo Zisin is a young activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality. Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning to present as male at the age of 17, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female/male gender...
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