NEVO Zisin identifies as non-binary, but this wasn’t always the case.
At the age of 15 they came out as a lesbian, and, never one to shy away from voicing their opinion, announced their transition to present as a man in a gutsy Facebook post two years later.
What prompted you to write the book?
I was actually lucky enough to be asked to write the book. I’m a public speaker and my story was sent from an author who heard me speak to her publisher and the publisher was like, we have to do this.
How did it feel being asked to write a book at such a young age?
I didn’t think it was going to happen so I was very cautious. I was also really afraid because I was 19 at the time, and I was worried people would take me for a ride and profit heaps off my story or find a way to misrepresent me.
In my first meeting with the publisher I said look, I have to let you know I’m an unapologetic feminist and I’m not going to dilute myself, and she was completely on board with that. I’ve only ever felt love and understanding from her.
What was it like revisiting your trans journey?
It was paralysing, retraumatising, and it was cathartic. I had to go through the entire chronology of my life, and the current me felt really detached from the past versions of myself.
I felt in some ways I’d betrayed myself in the old incarnations, especially when I was younger and tried to be more feminine. I felt I was betraying that version of me by giving in to transition. The book was an opportunity to go back and put myself in the headspaces of each of those people and be them again.
At the moment more and more young people in Australia are coming out as trans. How important is it for your story to be out there for them?
I think it’s incredibly vital. I genuinely believe this will be a life changing narrative for people, especially for trans kids that need the role model I never had growing up. It will also make a difference for parents and allies, and even enemies.
If people have questions I can direct them to this book, I don’t have to be a walking search engine for people anymore.
How would this book have helped you while discovering your gender identity?
If I’d read this when I first came out I can’t imagine the difference it would’ve made. It offers a glimpse of hope for kids that don’t have any.
I’m a mish-mash of masc and femme, which I think it important too. Not to put down any trans people but having that diversity for young people is very pivotal.
What are hoping readers will get from this book?
I think on a broad scale definitely awareness and understanding of trans issues and identity.
On a personal level I don’t think this is just a story of trans people and the human condition – it covers body issues, family, gender, sexuality, and high school. It covers so many things on a personal level that I hope people will leave the book saying wow, I really identified with that. Even my grandma said she really saw herself in the book.
Finding Nevo is now available.