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Taking Back Our Narrative.
This photography project focuses on the preservation and representation of Trans + Gender Non-Conforming individuals or for short, TGNC. It consists of a portrait series featuring TGNC folks in the way they want to be archived and portrayed, along with direct words from participants.
Preservation means Legacy.
Representation means visibility, a fullness to control our own narrative.
This project is a way to archive our own voices and faces- how we want to be seen and how we want to show up.
We are not just a news headline, a fashion trend, or entertainment. As much as these can be positive, they still fall prey to the cis heterosexual colonial patriarchy. They fall prey to no longer serving our community. The history of our likeness has been taken out of our community, especially for Black and Brown TGNC folks, for exploitative purposes.
"Taking Back Our Narrative," aims to create what we want history to say about us- gaining back the power to shape it ourselves in a proactive way.
This project is personal to me because I am Non-binary, and upon doing research into who I am, I found it difficult to find primary depictions and archives of other TGNC folks (especially ones who aren’t celebrities) Photos and words from their own personal narratives barely exist (not to mention the lack of accurate and positive information) As far as I can tell there was no one from the actual TGNC community creating portrayals of the community.
This project will be ongoing, with the participants images and words to be published in book volumes. All book proceeds will go directly back into the project, and back into the TGNC community as mutual aid.
In addition to the book, this project is inadvertently creating a new tribe of connected TGNC individuals!
Because community IS EVERYTHING.
Our time is now- We are the present generation, we carry the torches of our ancestors, and we are paving the way for the next generation of the TGNC community.
Let’s tell OUR history with OUR words, and OUR faces.
"I was in a car with some girlfriends on the way to a birthday party, and while we're driving, this topic came up: when did you peak? Physically, in terms of attractiveness, or health. The birthday girl said when she was 25. My best friend said 23. A girl in the back seat said it was when she was in high school. And then I chimed in with something that feels like a very transgender outlook, and said: "I haven't peaked yet." It made me realize that I've never in my life felt like I was at my best; I've always been looking forward to a future when I'd be more myself."
"Pride is something of a shitshow these days. The cops insist on having a part. Raytheon thinks it can take part. Far too many of the party gays (especially of the white and cis variety) think the battle is over; they don't want to hear about trans struggle, or don't want to hear about the broader struggle for liberation of all peoples. A lot of queers aren't out to brunch though. The fight is still going on, and that's what makes me optimistic about Pride. That's what makes me proud to be queer and trans.
During the shoot I was nervous. I had a lot of doubts going through my mind like, have I been out and transitioning long enough? Am I taking up too much space as a white person? Am I going to like how I look in these photos? I struggled with imposter syndrome a lot when I had my first inklings that I wasn't a man. It comes and goes periodically. As we went through the various poses I tried to relax, simply take direction, and trust that they know what they're doing. I try to maintain a balance between humility and self love, humility and self expression. This was perhaps a good opportunity for all those things. By the end of the session, I was happy to have done it but glad it was over."
"Pride above all else means community. I always felt like I had a story to tell but could never quite figure out where my story fit. Figuring out I was trans has been life changing for me. It affirms what I already knew about myself and expands the possibilities of who I can become. The community I’ve found with fellow trans people is something I never could have imagined. Jules and I had an instant connection and closeness because of our gender identities. I feel seen and safe with other trans and gender non-conforming people and that’s something that can’t be replicated anywhere else. For those looking for gender affirming photographs I very highly recommend working with Jules. Their subtle direction and unique artistic eye led to results I’m very happy with. Proud to be a part of this project and community alway."