I was born, September 1985, in the vortex of the Lower East Side of New York: there were few rules of life and zero constraints on behaviour. If you were not eccentric, you were weird. iO - lower case I, upper case O, her real first name given to her by her father, one of those eccentrics - is now a photographer, writer, film maker, activist, and actor. She is famous for a TED talk: 50 Shades of Gay which has been watched by 1.7 million people. But before that she was a child in a teeming tenement building at the centre of the drug-addled, punk-edged, permanent riot that was her corner of the Lower East Side of New York City in the 80s and 90s. There she grew up - or rather scrabbled up - under the broken wing of a fiercely protective, yet wildly negligent mother. Her mother was a showgirl, actress, dancer, poet. A widow by police murder, she was also an addict. She was wildly protective of her daughter, doting and obsessive, yet lacked an understanding that a child needs food and sleep and safety.
As a girl iO decided it was safer to live as a boy so from the age of six to fourteen that's what she did until she broke from her mother and escaped to Germany and then England and to become an amazingly talented, exciting, edgy artist and wonderful writer.