- May 2023
- April 2023
12 INSPIRING PEOPLE MAY: BEN PECHEY
May 25, 2023
AUTHOR, CONSULTANT, DE&I CONSULTANT AND LGBTQIA ADVOCATE
Ben and I met through Instagram. I was drawn to his hands – always clad with beautiful rings, I reached out and so our relationship began.
I have been following Ben for a few years now I love their positivity and how when Ben chats it’s just like a beautiful bouquet of joy that whizzes onto your screen. A truly unique sense of style combined with a strong voice they have been slowly becoming a leading force for non-binary and the LGBTQIA community.
With a Podcast, a TED talk and a book launch with another book on the way we find out more about Ben’s world and what makes them tick.
Ben thank you for being a part of our 12 inspiring people series this year.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m one of those new-fangled multi-hyphenates, I write, I speak, I present, I consult, I educate. I operate within the world of the LGBTQIA+ community, using my lived experience to change the lives of queer individuals across the world.
That can look like penning a book, sharing a reel on social media, or working with brands behind the scenes to ensure they are doing their best when it comes to supporting the community. When not educating directly I provide feedback and shaping commentary to brand's communications, ensuring promotional materials meets the rigger of full inclusion - a recent example is Virgin Atlantic’s promotion of their new uniform policy which removed gendered uniform across its business. I was able to ensure the advertising showed the breadth of the Trans+ community and avoided any stereotypes
I love the opportunity that I have to speak to people across the UK, and the world, to make the lives of my community safer, better, and more future-proof. It is not an easy role nay any means, but I embrace the ups and downs this job causes, and roll with the punches of being trans in there UK currently.
I think easy is taking a back seat and letting others take a stand – what propelled you to be this incredible voice?
Growing up I never saw or knew anybody like myself. I am now incredibly comfortable with who I am and am visibly present in society - but this has taken a lot of work. Brexit was my jumping-off point, I saw this calamitous moment, where Britain seemed to be split by a disagreement that was based on values of hatred and fear. I realised that no one would help people like myself, and so if I wanted to do something about it I had to share my voice. I have created and carved out my corner of the internet ever since. I never planned any of this, and certainly never envisioned a career.
It has allowed me to evolve at my own pace, becoming exactly who I want to be, and I have shared that with my audience, and of late the world. It is truly a heartwarming thing to know I am leaving a small legacy of change wherever I go.
I want this platform here to be an education for people, for others to learn from you about the trans community – what are the most important things we can gain from you?
We’re human beings. Simply, we deserve the respect that we afford everyone else.
The media is raging a war against trans people, fuelled by a moral panic that is based on fake news. The issues that the media report on - the row over single-sex spaces, brainwashing of children, and the constant claims that trans women, men, and non-binary people are not real - are based on an inability to accept difference.
Currently, the noise created by the anti-trans mob - is drowning out the community, and we are losing this battle. More than ever before we need people outside of the community (cisgender people) to be allies to our community, stand up for us, and our rights. Help us stay alive in a critically hostile environment!
I am not trans but I feel your posts and voice are for us all to be accepting of ourselves and each other, to build a kinder world for all, do you find that your audience is very varied?
Absolutely, I create for a specific audience first and foremost, the trans community is something that I hold incredibly dearly. However, I always operate with the understanding that in reality whoever you are, you can take away key messages from my content.
So my audience varies from teenagers all the way to Octogenarians, and we have really great interactions, as we connect across the world. In a way we influence and learn from each other, kindness and joy will always be a universal language.
Tell us a little about your style and who influences you.
My style is silly, irreverent, colourful, and an acquired taste. I am inspired by the world, myself, colour theory, and joy. I don’t tend to look at street style or current runways, more I tend to seek out feelings, or emotions and dress for that. Comfort, joy, and euphoria are often the words revolving in my brain as I look through my rails to dress.
What are your favourite brands?
I am a fiend for colour, pattern, and fun. So for current brands, I love to shop with Lazy Oaf, Lucy&Yak, and Marina Rinaldi. Higher-end brands like Vivienne Westwood and Coach are my go-to accessories. I love vintage and scour eBay for hours to find the things I want, my vintage Burberry trench coats are the thing I would save in a fire!
If someone is reading this and they aren’t happy with where they are or what they are doing in life what would you say to them?
To take away the pressure to conform!
We spend so much time worrying about what other people think of us. In reality, we can save that time/ effort/energy and focus on what we want, and who we want to be. Once we let go of the shackles of opinion and what's ‘right’ there is so much space for joy, freedom, and being yourself one day at a time.
What’s next for you?
What a loaded question! Lots, I hope!!
I have a few fun surprises up my sleeves, that are nearly ready for the world, maybe a page tuner, or perhaps a fab event you can attend. But for now, we will keep them under wraps. The best way to keep up to date is to follow me on social media.
You have a book out, where can people buy it?
Anywhere you can buy good books!
But realistically, I would love people to support their local independent book shops wherever possible - as this keeps communities alive - I don’t make any more wherever you chose to shop - so it is a nice thing to know that the sales of my book can help other people too.
Ben's book is called 'The Book of Non Binary Joy' here is a link to an independent store. Buy me
I found your TED talk really inspiring – where can people catch up?
Head to youtube where all the TED talks from the day end up.
It is an inspiring lineup, with challenging workplace discrimination, Iranian women’s rights, saving money, and so many other amazing topics - the whole playlist is full of emotion, education, and compassion.
Watch Ben here
Listen to Ben's podcast here
And lastly, what are your favourite Sarah Verity rings and why?
Don’t make me choose - it is too hard! I have picked my current top five - which all speak a language of maximalism, boldness, and the joy of saying yes to what you want because you love it, not because you think it will please others. I love mixing gold and silver, always have, and it makes for an eclectic mix. I love the richness of the Durga Tigers Eye Gold Ring with light playing across the stone, it is the perfect friend to the light-shifting rainbow magic of the Stellar Lightning Rainbow Moonstone Silver Ring. I love the richness of a pearl, always trying to capture the magic of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, and so the Veta White Baroque Pearl Gold Ring does just that. Finally, you can’t beat the radiance of coloured gems, and so I am always drawn to pieces like the Highway Star Medium Rhodo Quartz Silver Ring and Nirvana Large Emerald Quartz Gold Ring.
Shop Durga Tigers Eye Ring
Shop the Stellar Rainbow Moonstone set in recycled sterling silver here