Chella Man is warm tea for the soul. He’s the type of person that makes you believe in yourself solely because you can tell he whole-heartedly believes in his own potential. Man burst onto the literary scene just yesterday, with the release of his book, Continuum (my copy is arriving in the mail as I write this), through Penguin Random House’s Pocket Change Collective. The nonfiction novel documents Man’s life as a transgender, deaf, Asian-Jewish artist and activist, according to the publishing house’s website. To confine Man to activism and writing, while monumental on their own, would be to ignore the rest of his contributions to entertainment and culture. Aside from advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and casually writing memoirs at just the age of 22, the absolutely monstrous talent dabbles in modeling, painting, tattooing, directing, public speaking, clothing, and acting, even appearing in the DC Universe series ‘Titans.’
According to Man’s own website, he “hopes to continue pushing the boundaries of what it means to be accessible, inclusive, and equal in this world.” And if his career thus far is anything to go off of, it appears that the genderqueer author has no plans of slowing down. Just scrolling through his website makes you take a long look at yourself and ask, “what was I doing at 22?” In 2021 alone, while most of us were attempting to peel ourselves off of our war-torn couches to put on a legitimate pair of pants for the first time in a year, Man spoke on the Tamron Hall Show and disability rights activist Judy Heumann’s online series The Huemann Perspective to share his unique experience with the world.
To say Man isn’t new to speaking publicly about his incredibly personal and inspiring story would be a grave understatement, as he’s posted videos on his YouTube channel as far back as 2017 documenting his struggle with body dysmorphia and, ultimately, his transition. Sidenote, his channel also documents his extremely adorable relationship with artist MaryV, so if you’re looking to feel mushy one of these days, it’s definitely worth checking out. Man’s video “One Year On Testosterone: Voice Updates” even has more than 4 million views, and over the span of four years he’s racked up nearly three hundred thousand subscribers. Needless to say, his mere existence has inspired many, and his most recent project, a short film entitled “The Beauty of Being Deaf” is sure to follow this trend.
Interesting people make for interesting memoirs, and by that logic, Continuum is set to be wonderful from beginning to end. I believe Man said it best in the synopsis for the book, found in his online shop, in that “above all, he shows us that identity lies on just that — a continuum — a beautiful, messy, and ever-evolving road of exploration.”
Man radiates joy and kindness, and most importantly, hope. And at a time when all of those things can feel in shorter-than-short supply, looking to individuals like Man can be life-giving. If you have any want for blinding, unabashed originality and delight, or even just the need to feel okay, you need to pay attention to Chella Man.
FEATURED IMAGES: VIA PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, TWITTER @CHELLAMANART