About the project

The Fifty Shades of Gender project started with a book idea.

When the Fifty Shades of Grey book was all the rage (to be honest, I (Esther) got bored halfway through book 2) a variety of projects started to emerge, such as Fifty Shades of Gay, and Fifty Shades of Feminism.

Then, we (Esther and Katy) had an idea.

Why don’t we create a collection of fifty stories of gender-diverse people, all local to Norwich?

At the time, we wanted to call it Fifty Shades of Trans – until a friend suggested we call it Fifty Shades of Gender. When we got over the fact that we wanted it to be one syllable (because we’re pedants), we agreed that they had a point 🙂

For those who are making a connection with Fifty Shades of Grey (you’d be forgiven, since three out of four words are the same) may be thinking this will be a book full of whips and sex and red rooms of pain, but that’s not our focus (nothing wrong with all that, of course). It’s going to be a collection of stories from people in various places in their gender journey. That said, if they happen to be into BDSM, it may come up in conversation. At least, I hope so. 😉

After starting the interviews, I thought, why not use the audios rather than just have them transcribed for the book? And so, the idea for the podcast was born.

About the people behind the project

Picture of Esther Lemmens

Esther Lemmens

Pronouns: she/her

Originally from the Netherlands, Esther moved to Norwich, UK, in 1999. She has been working as a graphic designer and creative artworker ever since, starting off in local agencies and since 2014, as a self-employed designer and brand consultant. Her brand is Zesty, and she admits she owns too many domains with that word in it.

“I am a visual arts lover, book and word addict, course junkie, ethical and responsible consumer, organic foodie, green tea connoisseur, holistic health geek, professional pedant and crazy cat lady, with a zest for life!” 🙂

zesty.me  |  zestybranding.co.uk

Picture of Katy Jon Went

Katy Jon Went

Pronouns: they/them
or she/her

Katy is a writer, commentator, educator, speaker and activist on equality, diversity & inclusion, intersectionality, news & politics, arts, language, literature, theatre & culture, history & science, religion & philosophy, LGBTIQ+, sex and gender, mental health, human rights, DASV, photography, and many more things besides.

“I am passionate about learning, change and humanity’s potential. I am somewhere between a realist and optimist, whilst I warn about negative outcomes, I like to believe we will avoid them. I love reading about dystopias in order to imagine a better utopia, so long as it is a varied and diverse one, and not a dull uniform one.”

katyjon.com  |  genderagenda.net  |  humanlibrary.org

What would you like to do next?


to the podcast preview


a chapter of the book


Check out articles

Patreon icon in purple

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. You can become a patron from only $1/month. Bargain, right?

We would be so very grateful! Thank you 🙂