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Stinny Stone: Inside Berghain and KitKat I feel safe, but not on my way to them

By: Amanda Sandström Beijer

Photos by: Alina Rudya

Stinny Stone
Stinny Stone

Fully assured that they’re good enough, even when people all around have been trying to make them understand that they’re a freak that doesn't belong. Stinny Stone’s road up to this day has been uphill. This brought them big muscles and, an even stronger urge of letting their true visions materialize. Stinny brings their brain waves into form by sewing clothes, drag, photography, creative direction, make-up, and it makes Playful go Ahhhh.

”Not relatable, relatable and trashy”, that’s how Stinny describes themself.

They grew up in a small town named Porta Wesfalica, and say they couldn’t have had a more beautiful upbringing. Although the more we talk we understand that it has a shadow to it.

”It was a very safe upbringing, in the sense that everything was so close by, and everyone knew everyone. I had a five-minute walk to school and all around there were farms with pigs, horses, sheep, and all kinds of animals. Our ways of having fun were shooting with guns and playing with animals.”

The downside of growing up in a small town, where everyone knew each other was the talk.

”I found it hard to be myself, but I have never compromised, as I’ve been this way since I was a little boy. Back then everyone thought I was a freak in my dresses. I was obsessed with Pippi Longstockings, she was my icon and I saw the films over and over. Then the yearly Carnival came, and I wanted to dress up like her, so my mother sewed me a dress and bought me an orange wig. The problem was that after being Pippi for that one day, I didn’t want to wear anything else. So thenceforward I was always dressed as Pippi Longstockings in kindergarten. The apron got so dirty and ugly, but I never wanted to take it off. My parents wondered ’what the fu*k was going on, what can we do?’ because everything was falling apart, and the parents of the other kids were wondering what was up with this kid. My mom just answered that ’it’s my kid and he just loves to dress up like Pippi every day of the year.’”

Sometime after this period Stinny started school and everything suddenly felt very different.

”People recognized me and asked if I was that weird kid that always wore Pippi’s clothes, and they didn’t want to be my friend since they thought that I was a total freak. I was so shy and embarrassed and suddenly I had a feeling that everyone was seeing me as a mad person. So, I got bullied a lot which was also really tough for my mother. She works as a hairdresser and had all the kids' mothers as clients, and they asked her all the time what was wrong with me and why I was acting so crazy. She had to defend me against her clients and it was just very intense for her'', Stinny explains.

”As they all talked so much it took away part of my youth. Like I never got the chance to ’come out’ to my parents and tell them that I’m gay, because everyone in my hometown outed me to them, and didn’t give me the chance to do it myself. The people at my school told my mother that their son was gay even before I knew it myself. I hadn’t even started to question that yet and didn’t know much about my sexuality, if I was bi, transsexual or what I was, before I was told from every direction.”

Being bullied took a big toll on their life and self-confidence and Stinny eventually got depressed.

”I think what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and after some time, I found a boyfriend. I was like 15 when we got together, but after all this bullying I felt I was too much, so I tried to be less of who I was, and acted more masculine and tried to not look gay. My boyfriend was also looking very heteronormative. It was a pretty toxic relationship in that sense. He was very pretty, and I was trying to be perfect for him. We were basically teenagers, and that’s also why it wasn’t very hard when I ended it.”

The end came when Stinny turned 18, decided to make reality of their dream and moved to Berlin.

”I wanted to study arts, photography and design and to spread my wings and get the space to become the person I really was, without any limitations. But my boyfriend didn’t want to leave our hometown, so I left by myself.”

Before moving to Berlin, Stinny, who had their uncle and cousin already living here, had been visiting the city plenty of times. Although their view on the city has changed since they were young.

”I thought Berlin was dangerous. I could see that young people were drinking beer and people were looking through the trash bins and there was graffiti everywhere, and as a small-town-person I was shocked by all of this. But already back then, I knew that I needed to live in a big city to get the creative freedom I was looking for and to meet people who had a similar way of thinking. I saw so many opportunities to express myself and to make my dreams come true. I basically moved to Berlin to be accepted for who I was.”

Although Stinny used to have family here, when they arrived, they didn’t know anyone.

”It was very hard to find an apartment of course and I found my first few friends in the university where I studied photography.”

This was a private school, and it wasn’t really the vibe that Stinny had imagined before coming here.

”People were a bit snobbish, and I’m rougher and more straight forward in a sense. I didn’t really feel understood here either. They were very particular with what they assumed was ’working’ and not working, and into one particular way of fashion- and contemporary photography and the teachers told me to ’calm down’. They said that I didn’t have my own style and that I had to figure something out, but I didn’t want to figure something out, I just wanted to realize my vision. But they all thought it was too trashy and wanted to ’correct it’. In Germany we say, ’Durch die Blume sagen’ and it translates ’through the flower’ and means that one doesn’t yet have style and soon will realize it themselves.”