In Between is a photo essay by Tisch sophomore Alina Patrick that portrays people who fall between different identity groups. It focuses on three individuals: Ellie Winter, a woman living in Brooklyn who is half black and half white; Tisch sophomore Marley Jean Fernandes, who navigates their gender identity outside of the binary; and Emily Patrick, a half Mexican and half white woman who recently moved to East Harlem.
Winter is very confident in her black identity. She said she feels more comfortable and accepted in black communities than in white ones. In fact, she said that “It was hard to be an Irish person… because they don’t see you as Irish, they see you as black.” Although she has never felt fully a part of either racial community, she said she has found that “if you know what it means to be black, people will accept you no matter how you look. You’re a part of the community, mentally and emotionally.”
Fernandes has had the experience of being perceived at times as as both a man and a woman. They said that “I feel comfortable beyond the binary of gender. I use she/her, they/them pronouns most of the time but I also don’t mind he/him… I feel more masculine on some days; more feminine on others.” The entire process of embracing a fluid identity has been confusing for Fernandes. They described it as “the internal dilemma of, ‘am I just a masculine woman? a trans guy? or maybe I am genderfluid?’ That’s something I’m figuring out currently.”
Patrick moved from the East Village to Spanish Harlem in August 2018. She said she loves the neighborhood, but expressed how she feels out of place there. “It seems like an imposter situation,” she said. “I am part Latina but I don’t feel like I am [Latina] enough that I can confidently outright identify as a minority, especially since I have this whole added privilege of passing for white.” As a result, Patrick navigates through her life in Spanish Harlem as a white woman. She orders agua fresca from street carts and pastries from Puerto Rican bakeries in Spanish, but with an American accent. She throws Halloween parties, but does not celebrate Día de Muertos. She tries to feel connected to her Latina culture, but at times feels disingenuous because, as she puts it, “I am both, and I consider myself both, but I seem white.”