Trans artist, music maker and new kid on the block Riley is just about to colour up his college! Graham Robson caught up with him to find out what’s new, how he’s been hitting lockdown, and what the future holds.
Hey Riley, tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Riley, I’m a transgender male and I’ve been out for about two years now. I’ll be studying literature, art and theatre in college from September, and I’m excited to start.
What have you been up to during lockdown?
I’ve been helping out my mum around the house, learning new techniques on electric guitar, trying new art styles, and I’ve also begun to play bass. We’ve also just finished repainting and decorating my bedroom too, and it looks so good.
I’ve been watching Netflix and Disney+ quite a bit. I found a series called Next In Fashion that I was pretty interested in, and I’ve also been watching all the old Disney Channel movies. It brings back happy memories.
Have you adapted to working from home?
Working from home is pretty easy, considering I don’t have a lot of work that I can do now. My final exams have been cancelled, but I’ve been helping out my younger sister with her schoolwork, whilst doing errands for my mum so she can work in a better environment.
How has lockdown affected your creative output?
I think the biggest impact would be the tranquility I feel when I go for a walk. I do this every day now as part of the ‘daily exercise’, and I’ve found that the peaceful feeling has really positively impacted my art and design. On the other hand, when I first found out, I was writing all sorts of angry songs, because there was a lot I was looking forward to this year.
Do you think lockdown has disproportionately affected the trans community?
The lockdown has definitely impacted the trans community, as a lot of people who were wanting to start hormone replacement treatment or were going to get surgery are now having to wait longer. It’s not ideal, but hopefully this pandemic will be over soon enough.
Any plans for when this is over?
Yeah, I’m planning on maybe self-releasing a single or two, and possibly selling some of my art. I think it’s about time I get on the scene. I’m also thinking of opening a small coffee shop in my neighbourhood when I can get the money – we don’t have a local cafe and i think it’s about time we do. My mum said she’ll help me bake cakes and pastries for the shop – I’m sure it’ll shape up quite nicely.
Tips to keep us from losing our minds during lockdown?
What I’ve been doing to keep busy is meditating. It sounds cliche and silly, but it’s really helping me get to sleep at night, and centre myself during all this madness. Locking yourself away for a few hours can be good too, if you’re stuck with people – if not, call friends/family! I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.
Words of wisdom to see us through?
Teach yourselves. The government has shown that they couldn’t give two hoots about the students, by removing them from their place of education and telling them they can just go back when it’s all done. So educate yourself. Pick a few subjects you really really love, and dedicate yourself to them. There’s no better time.
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