Being transgender is not an easy task, we have to create ourselves to cater to a world created by cis people for cis people. The emotional labor is overwhelming at times, every interaction is work for us. This is a project about that struggle. This is a project that is about getting harassed on the street, about being misgendered and deadnamed, about having to perform gender day in and day out just to be seen as something that cis people can wrap their heads around, to feel safe in a world that is full of violence towards us and so many on the margins.
You may not knowingly be part of the systemic violence, you may purposefully be a part of it, but you know who you are and where you stand. This body of work is healing for us as a community, and it exists for us. We have not shared our stories for you, they are not to educate you or to make you feel guilty about what has been done to us, what you may have done to us. We are putting these experiences into writing for ourselves, so that we as a community can acknowledge the daily labors we perform, and process the violence of our lives.
These are our letters to those of you that participate in this society, in these microaggressions, in this violence. The letters originally exist in the form of a stereotypical greeting card and were paired with decorative, delicate, yet powerful imagery. The lumen prints are used here as a metaphor for change, for transition, and to represent the idea of being seen; a lumen print will only fade away if it is not fixed, just like our stories and our livelihoods. The project has since been adapted into an abridged photo book format, allowing the project to be more easily accessed outside of a gallery setting. Eventually, the project will also be adapted into a website to allow viewing of the full project.
View the full PDF here!