Allory Bors, a third-year women's and gender studies and public policy major at the University of North Carolina, identifies as nonbinary. As a result, Bors often feels as though their identity is erased, saying, "I think I feel most affected internally as opposed to concrete economic or what we would think of as major social barriers that are holding me back. I mean, I definitely feel like I have a lot of privilege that I can leverage as a white person and as a person who passes very easily as just a cisgender person--a cisgender woman. I also don’t mean to create kind of a divide between the political and the personal, because I think a lot of what I experience is within social settings and within relationships, romantic relationships in particular. I also think I’m impacted indirectly because I think they’re all part of the same kind of system of power, and they play into each other."
Bors is also the vocalist for an on-campus jazz combo, where they feel exposed to lots of historically perpetuated sexism. While Bors is comfortable and confident singing ang playing such music, they also face different power struggles within the class and genre itself, saying, "It was a genre created to be a space for those seen as 'other', and I relate to that, but those roots have been ignored and it’s important to realize and connect to that as the original purpose of the genre. It’s a genre that is easy for me to relate to in that way, but at the same time, it greatly affects those of different intersections, such as women and people of color even more."
Bors combats feeling overwhelmed by social and internal questions and constructs through mindfulness, especially music. Bors DJs at WXYC, the campus radio station as part of this, saying, "Listening to music is one of those things that’s such an archive, and makes me feel so connected to history or able to admire it even though I’m not directly sharing that experience with that person. So I think being part of WXYC has been a major formative thing for me."
Bors also feels impacted greatly by the intersection of ableism and sexism, especially as someone affected by struggles with mental illness. "Gendered people and people of other marginalized identities are at higher risk for developing mental illness, and I think that’s definitely the case with me, so it’s hard for me to separate those things. Day to day, and especially in the university setting--I mean, I’m lucky; I have access to mental healthcare and I’m registered with ARS, but still, it’s pretty impossible to be a student on this campus with a disability. It’s just frustrating, because there will be casual ableism all the time in classes, like, ‘I never accept late work,’ or, ‘the attendance policy is never miss class, or if you miss more than two it lowers your grade,’ and I think that’s a major problem," said Bors.
Bors is a member of UNC Siren, an on-campus feminist publication that, "aims to address the challenges of inequality in the UNC-CH community." Bors, through this and other similar activities and like-minded individuals, finds comfort. "It’s easy to hypothetically say there are people like me out there who are thriving, but to read actual narratives from people who have my same experiences that are just as complex, just as extraordinary and just as beautiful as narratives we would read constantly or are socialized to think are the only narratives out there [means a lot to me]. I think I feel most comfortable with people who validate my experiences, because they are valid; people who just generally make it their objective to prevent me feeling shame for who I am." said Bors.
Bors faces complex challenges in their relationship with their father, saying, "It’s very clear to me that he loves me, but we’re all in a society where we don’t know how to fully love one another, so I think he has some unlearning to do, just like I have some unlearning to do."
Through all these challenges, Bors still finds comfort in imagining a more accepting future. "I think I find peace in imagining what the possibilities are for a world and social reality that’s better and more welcoming; reminding myself that I'm a little piece of the world makes me feel better about it."