Jeffrey Marsh is a host, an author and, a youth advocate who has earned more than a quarter of billion views across social media platforms. Marsh’s most famous trends, such as #DontSayThatsSoGay and #NoTimeToHateMyself, has gained global recognition and attention.
Marsh has earned top spots on Viner lists by both BuzzFeed and Vine through their positive and inclusive social media campaigns. In 2015, Marsh was named as the official red carpet correspondent for both MTV/logo and GLSEN. They have also been featured for The Huffington Post and Medium.
Marsh is a precepted facilitator in the Soto Zen tradition of Buddhism. In addition, Marsh is further recognized as an actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, and even a comedian.
One Love, All Equal: Thank you for taking the time today to answer our questions. Can we start with you sharing a bit of yourself, your background, etc.
Jeffrey Marsh: Heck yes! I’m my favorite subject! I grew up fabulous on a farm in Pennsylvania, and moved to New York City about ten years ago. I’m famous on Vine, and I advocate for young people of all kinds. I attended school studying Musical Theater, and have used those talents on Vine!
OLAE: When did you come out as genderqueer?
JM: It was relatively recently. I’ve told friends that I’m transgender, trans, queer and genderqueer. Things are usually a little up in the air for me. I choose to say “genderqueer” today because it feels the most like a label that isnt a label. There’s lots of room to it.
OLAE: How did your family react to you being genderqueer?
JM: Family is complicated. Some understand it and some don’t, as you might suspect. Even though it can be difficult, I choose to assume that everyone gets “the real me” even if they don’t understand what genderqueer is.
OLAE: What does genderqueer mean to you?
JM: It really is the labelless label. It feels to me like a person who has aspects that are feminine and ascpects that are masculine and aspects that don’t belong anywhere close to those two words.
OLAE: Was the act of coming out an important one for you?
JM: Oh yeah. Definitely. I have come out many times and it has really helped me see the value in being open about who we are.
OLAE: Some people seem to be confused between genderqueer and fluid gender. What is the difference between the two?
JM: There ain’t one. As least I can’t think of one. I am guessing that many people who feel like one of those labels is important to describe themselves, would tell you why they chose one over the other. But I’ve used both and I use them interchangably to mean “I’m really complicated.
OLAE: It is important that we understand how people identify and how they would like to be known. What is the most accurate manner in which to refer to you in reference to your gender?
JM: Great! I love this question because I go with “genderqueer” but I’m honestly not all that attached to it. It seems so weird I guess. Pronouns aren’t that important to me, for example. I ask people to use they/them, but some people can’t or won’t get it and that’s fine. Not everyone has to see gender the way I do. I would suspect that there are as many gender identities as there are people. And that’s how it should be! But it will mean that not everybody’s beliefs about gender will match up to your experience. I’d rather connect over something we have in common than police others into feeling bad about using the “wrong” word for me. I do acknowledge that not everyone feels that way.
OLAE: Changing the subject. You wrote your first book called How To Be You. What´s the story about this book?
JM: Another one of my favorite subjects! The book has three approaches toward the reader. It’s memoir. It tells stories of growing up on the farm. It’s also direct advice. My editor and I pulled together all the emails and messages I’ve gotten on social media and we ansered quite a few of the questions in them. And third, the book is a workbook! I love this because it is important for the reader to feel important. They get to participate by answering questions and tearing out pages and drawing pictures. The book is fun.
OLAE: Did someone inspired you to write How To Be You?
JM: I love an author called Cheri Huber. She wrote my alltime favorite book: There Is Nothing Wrong With You.
OLAE: What would your advice be to today’s youth that has not yet come out as genderqueer?
JM: Well, as far as coming out goes: there is no rush. I understand it feels so urgent – at least it did for me. But, don’t do anything you aren’t ready to do. If you want to wait, then wait. If you want to explore a bit more before you feel like you have something to tell, then do that. Above all: enjoy life.
OLAE: Is there anything else that you wish to share with our readers?
JM: Oh, just that there is nothing wrong with them…
OLAE: Thank you for taking time out to speak with us.
JM: Of course! My pleasure.
Click here to get “How To Be You” by Jeffrey Marsh