Ever been told as a child to walk like a man? I used to hear that all the time. Why do you walk like that? What are you, a fa##ot? It wasn’t until was 10 or eleven that I noticed most guys presented themselves differently. Those who walked without swaying their hips didn’t get bullied. So I tried it and lo and behold it created space between me and my antagonists. But I knew it was an empty gesture and not really who I was.

Now, can you imagine being berated for the way you dance? Zackery Torres, They/Them child star of Dance Moms did. The only thing was Zackery didn’t have a name for who they were, no way to describe it. They had no way of telling the producers hey, don’t call me that.

“I started seeing all of the expectations that teachers — well-known dance teachers, and well-known choreographers — had for me as a male dancer growing up and at the time identifying as a boy,” they said. “‘Oh, you’re too feminine, you need to dance like a man.’ Just having teachers tell you that on national television, all this stuff, it kind of really got to me.”

“Everyone always talks about how inclusive the arts communities are. But I’m just not really feeling it. I’m not seeing it on an everyday scale,” they added.

Now they do. Meet Zackery Torres (they/them) the Founder and CEO of Continuum Community. They are reaching out to places normally associated with progressive attitudes and helping them to understand gender diversity as it pertains to dancers.

@zackery_torresLIFE UPDATE! #fyp #foryou #dancemoms #viral #update #clasof2021♬ Levitating – Dua Lipa

Zackery Torres (they/them) is the Founder and CEO of Continuum Community. Zackery is gender non-binary and uses they/them/she pronouns. Zackery started dancing at age 10, training and competing in Scottsdale, AZ. In 2012, they began competing and dancing on two reality television shows for three years, gaining public attention for being a young dancer and TV personality. Upon graduating from high school in 2017, they now attend the University of Southern California, getting a B.F.A. in Dance from the Kaufman School of Dance and a M.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Through their experience as non-binary individual in the dance and reality television world, they became passionate about gender inclusivity. This passion fueled the start of Continuum Community and the publishing of a book An Evolving Conversation on Gender: Dance Edition, available beginning September 7, 2020 on Amazon. Zackery has a passion for advocacy and loves nothing more than guiding communities to be more inclusive of all people.

 

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender