As I Am
This project arose out of my process of coming into my gender identity as a non-binary trans man. Self portraits became a refuge from words and a place to listen to myself and my body. I had such internalized fear and self hatred about using the words “transgender” and “he” that I needed a way to look at myself, my history, and the culture surrounding me in an environment free of language. To photograph myself was to make my whole experience of existence possible, visible. This was the means with which I was able to look at myself, and tease apart my truth from an imposed binary gender system in dominant culture.
The old binary gender system encourages looking at the trans identity as ugly, shameful, a disorder, unattractive, and unloveable. This system is embedded in misogyny and colonial mindset, and it is this sytem that is being challenged and dying. Body postures, colors, symbols, emotions, objects are gendered from day one, and imposed on humans depending on their genitalia.
My images challenge those gender norms, finding new possibilities of existence through the dynamic tension of contradiction, and violating the imposed boundaries of gender. It is through contradictions that new ways are made possible, challenging old story lines and exalting the paradoxical nature of trans non-binary identity and the power therein.
If an image is uncomfortable, confronting that discomfort is to witness the power of the trans, non-binary, and gender non conforming existence. They shake up old storylines and write a new narrative, or new language all together. This project started as a means to witness and see the truth of my gender identity. It morphed into a celebration of myself and the power that exists in the trans identity.
I am dangerous to the old story line.
“I exist as I am, that is enough” Walt Whitman