Which parts of the LGBTQ* community do you identify with? Which words reflect what you feel?
At the moment I identify mostly with the letter Q - queer because it is the broadest concept that combines many aspects - such as gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation. And a way of being above all. I think that it combines non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people who build a community together and are proud of who they are striving for changes in society, but also for their own development.
The choreography "The future is non-binary", which is part of your diploma at the University of Physical Education in Poznań gained many views and shares on Instagram. Can you tell us what experiences led you to create this work and how it was received at the university?
This work tells my entire journey related to the widely understood movement on the chronological timeline. I only shared part of it on Instagram. The beginning starts just like my adventure with dance, i.e. contemporary dance, the next part is the European runway taken from the ballroom culture, the technique of which I currently devote a lot of time, and the final part is Vogue Fem with which I associate my future. When creating my thesis I wanted to show this journey through various forms of movement and simply my expression and who I am. I also wanted to increase the awareness of my surroundings towards non-cisgender identities, be a representation of people who do not identify with binary gender divisions, do it through art so that people associate it with something that may be somehow pleasing to the eye and not as some media describe it - a demoralizing monster to the youth. My work was received very positively at the University, which surprised me. They appreciated my authenticity above all, but also the completeness and refinement of this choreography in the form of expression - from the aesthetics of movement, through costume, music, colors, image quality, editing, scenography, lighting, and drama. However, due to the pandemic, my work only reached the committee from the University and my friends from the year, I did not have the opportunity to show it to a wider group, so I made it available on Instagram. It was my most important and demanding project so far. Unfortunately, I was limited in time and as a result of how many elements of expression I included in this work, not everything was understood or noticed. I do hope that someday I will have the opportunity to present it live in the theater space or to record an extended, longer version.
What role do art and creativity play in your life? Is it a field of expression, mission, work, or does it fulfill other functions?
It plays all these roles! Certainly a way of expressing what I have in my head and my heart, who I am, i.e. a field of expression. In the project “The Future is Non-binary” I used art among other things to spread awareness about gender identities other than those assigned to us at birth. So I think of art also as a mission to touch on these topics. Art is also working to me because sometimes I get a dance job, thanks to which I can earn some extra money. Unfortunately in Poland, it is still difficult to make a living from dancing if you do not decide to teach dance to others. For me, art is also a way to deal with stress, sadness, and negative emotions, it is a kind of therapy. It is a form of spending free time, a form of development, and work on oneself.
Does the world of dance, modeling, and performance in Poland give freedom of expression to artists?
In the world of dance and performance, it is going in the right direction. But in the world of modeling, it’s still lame and I have to admit that it annoys me a lot, because it is a world created largely by LGBTQIA+ people, and orders for photo sessions, fashion catwalks, campaigns or advertisements are still staffed in 95% by people only conforming to the current canon of beauty, that is, stereotypically male or female silhouettes, those "pretty", exercised, muscular, with a specific height, natural hair color, white skin color, belonging to the cisheteronormative majority. If someone in their expression differs from this, it is difficult for such a person to find a job as a model.
Are you familiar with the concept of androgyny? Would you call your work androgynous?
I am familiar with this term, but is it close to me? I would say no because I don't recognize binary social constructs. Someone who sees me or knows me could probably say that about me and it happened to me before. I am not able to say that about my work, because I think that creativity has no gender. Its features are in my opinion - non-binary.
Does the Polish language allow non-binary people to express who they feel they are? How do you find yourself in the Polish language, what forms do you use?
In my opinion, the Polish language does not offer such possibilities at all due to its structure and the fact how many parts of the speech are changed in it. However, the language is alive and constantly changing, so I hope that something will change soon. Personally, it doesn't bother me, but I understand people who find it problematic and embarrassing. I mainly use the pronouns he/him, but also she/her. Sinoa ends with the letter 'a' which is typical for female names in the Polish language, so it is often easier to use the pronouns she/her, and when I talk about myself in the first person, it is often with the pronoun he/him. My assumption is that when I use both pronouns, no one will misgender me.
How do Poles react to people who do not fit into the binary division of gender on a daily basis? Is it natural, problematic, or indifferent to them?
They often assume that I am a man or a woman. For example, when I go to a market stall to buy fruits, vegetables, old ladies always ask: "what will it be for you, Madam?". I don’t want to spend time explaining or correcting what it is like with me, and I do not mind this form of addressing me as I mentioned before, so I say what I need and I go on. The embarrassment is rather on the other side because I see that they don't know how to address me or sometimes they improve themselves when they hear my voice. It can be problematic due to acts of homophobia and transphobia which often happen, but in my case, it always ends with insults, and I am rather a calm person. I got used to it, it flows over me. I do not react to insults.
Are there big generational differences in Poland? What issues do they concern? What characterizes generation Z in your opinion?
I never really thought about it, to be honest, but it seems to me that there is a rule: the later generation - the more open. It seems to me that I am more open, sensitive to art or the suffering of others, the suffering of animals. Generation Z seems to be more aware of the importance of mental health issues.
What would you like to change in Poland, do you have any dreams related to it?
Many things. The ruling party above all. Education system. Access to specialist doctors. In Poland it is hard to be an artist, to get by doing art only.
Will you reveal what are your plans for future art projects and what they will be about?
For now, I will be focused on my own development. The pandemic restrictions have eased and the ballroom culture is taking advantage of it, so I have 6 ball trips planned soon. I want to use this time because I have concerns about what it will look like in the fall. Later I plan to go even more towards performance art and focus on it. But the next wave of the pandemic may also prevent me from doing so. For this I am considering doing a master's degree, there are lots of plans.
Sinoa (pronouns: he/him and she/her) is a non-binary performer from Pomerania. Now based in Poznań. Photo Model by passion, choreo therapist by profession. Studied Dance at the University of Physical Education in Poznań, specializing in dance therapy. Member of the first Vogue house in Poland - Kiki House of Army. In ballroom scene he specialises in Face, European Runway and Sex Siren categories.
Interview by: Kuba Urbaniak is a helping hand for the campaign “I’m not an Ideology”. Trained as an architect and intermedia artist, he worked and studied in Poland, Iceland, and Vienna. Based in Poznań PL. Currently developing his skills and interest in social campaigns with ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
Photos by:Błażej Płotka