We’re at Christchurch cathedral in Ireland Dublin, my name is Ríon and my pronouns are “They / them”.
I think a queer representation is important no matter what the medium, the genre, we need more in tv and media, but art is a big place as well, especially as there is so many creative queer people. We just need as many representations as we can have but also because a lot of queer people feel excluded from mainstream organized religion. That spirituality is such a massive thing, so finding your own spirituality and path is important. To have tarot decks and things like that specifically about queer people is really important because it is a way to get back into and connect with your own spirituality again. It isn’t exclusionary or biased in anyway against who you are as a person.
I choose the knight of cups – I feel like it relates to so many aspects of my identity and the different ways I express myself. I feel the femininity of the cups really fits with me, as I’m a very sensitive person, very emotional all the time. I find that is my strength, my gentleness and my emotional-ness. But also the masculinity of it, speaks to me as a non binary person, the balance of those two within me. The masculine of the night and the feminine of the cups, a water sign. The connotations of a knight, fighting for your cause works with my activism, the romance, the charm, the emotional-ness works with me as a very romantic person, a polyamorous person. As polyamorous person I really like that it is charming. It has so much to do with feelings and romance, it works a lot for me.
We all know very masculine people who identify as women, butch women or very feminine people who identify as men, so you can take the masculine and feminine away from it almost. As a non binary person, if I’m taking masculinity and femininity and mushing it all together with androgyny, it becomes something else. It’s taking it away from the “male” “female” binary. For my self I don’t mind using those words to describe myself, for other people I totally understand if they don’t want to use those words. I wouldn’t have a problem with describing myself as “Mac” or “femme” on a particular day. On a day where I feel femme, I’m still going to be wearing mens jeans and big boots, but I might wear more make up or push my hair a different way, and be like “Yea I’m femme”. I feel femme that day, but that doesn’t mean I’d be what is traditionally seen as feminine. The days I feel masc, I might be still dressed (in air quotes) “girly-looking” but I feel more masc and hold myself differently.
The sign I am holding in the tarot card is written in Irish, “Pro Rogha” which means “Pro Choice”. We recently had a referendum here in Ireland to legalize abortion for the first time, and we won the referendum! My life for the last few months has basically been campaigning for that, and I started my own group with my friends which was a direct action non violent group and we counter protested and blocked out some of the gory, graphic anti choice images that went up around the city. They were inappropriate, it wasn’t fair for people to have to see that, without an opt out for it. We got loads of recognition, and people came and joined us. It felt like a really lovely coming together of a community. It means a lot to me, I’ve met so many friends through it, we’ve made such a community of it. There’s a network of activists now. There was already a community of activists but we all just came together, they won’t be able to shut us up again. We all know each other now, we’re gonna be there, no matter what the issue is now. It’s nice, it’s an empowering feeling. It was a hard time, but something really good came out of it, especially as we won (the referendum).
I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to feel really strongly, and it isn’t more strong to shut down your emotions and be cold. There’s a lot of strength in being able to just feel things. There’s a lot of strength in gentleness as well. That can be a powerful thing. I joke about it now, but my way of being strong is radical gentleness, to be vulnerable and soft when it would be easier not to be. To connect with people and connect people through that, to create something from being gentle. That links in with the Knight of Cups because it is a sign that goes with being emotional, but it is also a strong sign.*
*Transcription of Audio Interview
I was so honoured to be able to travel to Ireland and meet Ríon, after they responded to my wild instagram call out for people to shoot while I was traveling there. It was so amazing to go and visit many places in Ireland from Cork to Dublin, and made extra special for all the running off into weird places to create tarot cards with people! Thank you again, it was so amazing to hear your story and see the joy with which you spoke about your card and your activism work.
The Knight of Cups – Ríon – trans nonbinary and queer – They/ them