Senne Misplon about raising awareness

Activist Senne Misplon raises awareness on gender and sexual diversity. After being part of Wel Jong and T-Jong, he’s now working at De Ambrassade.

Tell us something about yourself. What has been your journey?

I am Senne Misplon, a 24-year-old trans man, an educator, and an activist. For 5 years, I have been committed to raising awareness about gender & sexual diversity. I do this through lectures and consultancy. I just got my master’s degree in Gender & Diversity, and have just started a brand new job at De Ambrassade in Brussels to support youth work in Flanders and Brussels with my awesome team!

What are your current or future projects?

In terms of my activism and lecturing, I am currently doing everything at a very slow pace. I’ve been going very hard in recent years and, in retrospect, sometimes a bit too hard…. I have learned to take back the throttle and do mostly things that give me energy, instead of just doing things that drain me. For example, I have recently started a (still secret) project that gives me a lot of energy and at the same time still allows me to raise awareness among a wide audience! I also feel that my trans identity is no longer always so prominent in my life. This shows in, for instance, my social media. I am gently transforming my Instagram, which used to be mostly trans-related content, into more grandpa-core content. I showcase my cooking and baking moments there, but also joke about how my body sometimes takes grandpa-core a little too seriously and I suffered a puzzling injury a few weeks ago during a too-hardcore puzzle session (laughter).

How do you feel about the visibility of trans in Belgium these days?

Trans representation in Belgium, and especially in Flanders, has increased tremendously in the last 5 years. Since my participation in M/V/X for VRT, I have seen an exponential growth of more trans people in (online) media, both in Belgium and the rest of the world. At the same time, it is also important to take a critical look at the current representation. We mostly see people like me, trans people who, according to society, still fit nicely within the binary gender boxes. When people who don’t fit those norms do appear on television, you also notice how much resistance there often still is. For me, this shows that the battle is far from over, as well as that representation is a tool rather than an end in itself. Visibility always creates vulnerability and resistance. Therefore, for me, it remains essential to continue to focus on empathy, connection, informing, and sensitising to reduce this resistance.

What are your queer influences?

I have been greatly influenced by trans and queer people around me who have formed their own definitions and ideas about gender with me. For me, being queer is being gender-free and self-defining what masculinity or femininity means to me without having to necessarily conform to gender binary norms. I have also benefited greatly from international queer and trans figures such as Alok Menon, Mars Wright, Elle Deran, and Ezra Michel who inspired me to take control of my own gender quest and to dare to question the norms around me about my body and my transness.

What Belgian queer initiatives appeal to you?

For many years I was one of the spokesperson for Wel Jong, a youth organisation for queer and trans youth from 10 to 30 years old. I was also a volunteer for T-jong, Wel Jong’s trans youth movement. I find it so beautiful and heartwarming to see how, for 30 years, this organisation has been able to create a safe place where young people can develop themselves and find a chosen family.

Picture credits: Keep Louking