Signifying Jewellery (by Dove)

Something that we’ve been learning about and experimenting with is the idea of signifying jewellery (and other things). The specific topic of jewellery came up in the context of Dyscalculia, a ‘zine about plurality, but we’ve been experimenting with this for a while in general.

The general idea is to give each person in your plural group something in this world that is strictly theirs, to wear on the shared body while they are in front. This serves two purposes:

  1. It gives other people a solid indicator of who is in front, in case they can’t tell by the mannerisms of the fronter.
  2. It provides an anchor for the fronter to hold on to while they’re here, to help stay in front.

Some groups may not have problems with the latter, but it is a problem for some.

We have experimented with a number of things:

  • Name badges. We actually designed and printed and laminated name badges, and hung them from a lanyard. This was to be used during a meetup, but in practice, it was too cumbersome for us. It might still be useful if we go to any further meetups.
  • Hair trinkets. I have a white hair extension that I can put in sometimes. It is a little cumbersome to carry it around with us, though, and to stop and put it in. So in practice, this one is less effective unless I were to front for a long time. Sparrow has a similar thing, a set of feathers hung from a cord, but it has the same issues.
  • Clothes. Each of us has clothes that we like, and in many cases, we each picked them out to begin with, so they technically are our clothes. Again, this is more cumbersome in practice unless one of us is going to front for a long time, because you can’t just go change clothes. For long periods of fronting, though, it can be good.
  • Jewellery. So far, I am the only one who has experimented with this. I have a ring that I am not entirely happy with, but I have been playing with the concept, and it has been helpful. A ring or a bracelet is a really nice compromise on the points above because it’s easy to put on and take off (and unobtrusive, if a lot of switching will happen), but it is anchoring and easy to identify by others.

I hope there’s something helpful/useful in there!

Recent update: Something else that we pondered playing with was using hand signs to signify who is in front. But since the pandemic happened, we haven’t really had a reason to try.