Newtown is home to some of the most colourful and vibrant humans you’ll ever meet. Though few are as colourful and vibrant as Norrie.
Many of us have been fortunate enough to be standing at an intersection on King St, when suddenly, bubbles start floating by – the unmistakable and joyous sign that Norrie is nearby.
Known to locals for some time now, Norrie has been immortalised via a short documentary, or perhaps more so a poetic portrait, painted by the storytellers at Real Folk Stories.
“I only have one legal name” explains Norrie in the feature, “but a lot of people can’t get their heads around that so I made up the name Norrie May-Welby. It’s a joke, may-well be, yeah?” fantastic insight into the mentality and wicked humour of Norrie.
For the uninitiated, Norrie legendary status goes beyond the combination of soap and water. Norrie is a LGBQT activist and the world’s first legally recognised genderless person.
In 2010, NSW Government’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages reissued Norrie’s, who was assigned ‘male’ at birth, birth certificate recognising the Scottish-Australian’s status as gender “non-specific”
However soon after, the registry reneged on the decision.
Over four years, Norrie fought against the legal system in an ultimately successful bid to be recognised, once more and forever, as “gender non-specific.”
Many of us have been fortunate enough to get a friendly hello from Norrie as they sail through atop a slipstream of bubbles, however filmmakers Chi Chi Menendez and Paul Van Kan were granted access not just into Norrie’s home, but Norrie’s inner most thoughts on identity and gender.
Void of politics or spin, the video is a deeply personal insight into the thoughts of a non-binary person and a pointed reminder of why Norrie, and indeed all those who embrace their identity despite prevailing wisdom, are so important to the soul of Australia.