Model Olly Eley become Elle’s first non-binary and agender cover star

Olly Eley is Elle’s first non-binary cover star (Picture: Elle UK/Damon Baker)

Model Olly Eley has been unveiled as Elle magazine’s first non-binary cover star and they have opened up about the importance of visibility for trans and agender people.

Olly, who goes by the pronouns they/them, revealed they identify as agender, meaning they never felt a connection with being either male or female.

They explained: ‘After years of despising the body that I was born with, unable to relate in any way to the gender I was assigned at birth, I had at last found a way of existing in the world that made sense to me.

‘I’ve never felt female, but then neither have I felt male. If there was a thin line that connected the two genders, I would be a dot floating somewhere between the two, but untethered to the line altogether. It’s the only way I can describe it.’

The Australian star revealed it was moving to Sydney that helped them discover their identity and the language around it and that ‘”gender” could be something [they] could control if [they] wanted to.’

Olly also revealed they decided against a mastectomy and instead chose to bind (a way of compressing the chest for a flatter appearance) as having top surgery wouldn’t have been the right answer for them.

Olly doesn’t identify as either gender (Picture: Elle UK/Damon Baker)
It was moving to Sydney that helped Olly discover that being non-binary was possible (Picture: Elle UK/Damon Baker)

‘There are countless different surgeries that some trans people choose to have to feel more comfortable in their bodies,’ Olly explained. ‘For me I feel so disconnected from any gender that no body will ever feel perfect.’

They explained: ‘I bind not because I’m ashamed of my body but because the autonomy of doing so makes me feel safe.

‘I’m not fluid where I shift between genders and pronouns. I am agender (devoid of gender altogether) and what I do with my body, whether I’m naked or in a full snowsuit, doesn’t change it.’

Olly adds that they have accepted being a ‘non-binary person living in a binary world’ but says that people can be ‘defensive and reluctant to accept that such a grey area exists.’

Olly chose a reduction rather than a full mastectomy (Picture: Elle UK/Damon Baker)
Olly is Elle’s June cover star (Picture: Elle UK/Damon Baker)

With the groundbreaking Elle cover on shelves, Olly hopes it will help others to realise they are not alone if they too are non-binary.

‘I wish I’d known that it was OK to exist in this ‘in-between’ place when I was growing up,’ they admitted.

‘I wish someone had told me that I could be whoever I wanted to be, do whatever I wanted to do and that I was so valid and important.

‘Trans and non-binary kids need to hear that they are beautiful and worthy of love and a fulfilling life.’

The June issue of Elle UK is on sale from May 6.

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