If you’re looking for senior Echo Anzai, there’s a couple places you could find them, whether it be out on the track doing a long workout with Coach Anton Escay, in the art studio working on a painting with their friends, or in the classroom studying human bone structure with Mrs. Costello.
Anzai identifies with the pronouns they/them and the gender identity agender, which translates to “without gender”, meaning that an individual does not identify with any gender. This is a broader identity than non-binary, in which a person doesn’t identify with one of the two traditional genders: “male” or “female”.
Anzai describes themselves as “standing in the closet door”, they have come out once with their preferred gender, but were met with the comment that “that’s too difficult to remember.” Anzai says that for right now, they are happy with who they have come out to and don’t necessarily feel the need to make a big announcement to the world.
“I could come out if I chose, but for the sake of my energy, I choose not to come out where I’m met with confusion and transphobia,” Anzai said.
Anzai feels like school is a place that they feel more comfortable being completely out of the closet because people are either more accepting of them or not as influential in their life.“I have my safe spaces and I know who’s transphobic, so I am more free to run around and declare that my pronouns are they/them without judgement,” Anzai said.
Anzai’s academic interests lie in biological sciences, and they want to work with animals in their future career, hoping for a future opportunity to train animals. This love translates into the classroom, Anzai’s favorite class is Anatomy and Physiology.
Anzai doesn’t know what drives them to want to work with animals, their family has never had any pets that they can remember (they had a goldfish when Anzai was a baby), but they think that trips to the zoo and aquarium may have first awakened their love for animals which has turned into a career dream.
When they’re not examining the complicated mechanisms of the human body with Mrs. Costello or trying to figure out their dream job, Anzai enjoys running long distances on the levee or the track with their teammates, and pushing themselves to a new PR in the 800m (half-mile) and 1600m (mile).
Anzai says that track keeps them in shape to succeed in cross country, and trains them in a different fashion than the strict long-distance competitions of cross-country.
“Those (800 and 1600) are the perfect distance events for me,” Anzai said. “One tests my speed while the other tests my stamina.”
During the winter, Anzai also participated in wrestling, and they have interest in freestyle wrestling too. However, their many academic pursuits are taking up most of their time right now, making taking on a new endeavor like freestyle wrestling a daunting and unreasonable task.
Anzai expresses themselves through various forms of art, both traditional and digital art.
“I don’t exactly recall how I got into digital art, I think it was around the time I had my own Chromebook and really like seeing fanart from my favorite TV show at the time (Star Wars: The Clone Wars),” Anzai said.
After looking at various fanart examples that inspired them, Anzai started to work on some projects of their own.
“When I got my iPad, I did my first fanart for the book series Wings of Fire. It was a frustrating process because the app I was using wasn’t great, would crash on me, and lose half my progress unless I saved it, but it was worth it, and kickstarted my art journey,” Anzai said.
Since then, Anzai has practiced and improved their drawing skills, along with getting a better art program that is more user-friendly.
They also enjoy writing fantasy stories, hoping that when they get some more free time in the future, they can return to writing about the imaginary universe they had planned out but had to push to the side due to other commitments and changing interests.
There’s so much more behind senior Echo Anzai than their unconventional pronouns, from an interest in helping animals, to a love for running, to a passion for creating art. But they’re not willing to sacrifice their true identity to be accepted by unwilling members of society.
“At the end of the day, I do want to get my name and gender changed to how I feel and how I want to express myself,” Anzai said.