I was fortunate enough to be involved as a displaying artist in the inaugural TransTastic Talent Showcase in Perth last weekend. Fortunate because it was warming to the core to be surrounded by my community and by people who support my community on a night where I was there as myself. I am usually myself, flagrantly and unabashed when I can help it, but this was a whole different class of experience.
To be a transgender androgyne at Connections on a night intended to celebrate the abilities and the power of the trans* and gender diverse community was an empowering experience. Inaugural because it had better not be the last time an event like that happens in Perth if I can help it.
Along with my more visual artistic fellows Lex and Asher and their gorgeous creations, my work occupied that intimate corner of Connections with the soft couches. As someone who is innately a writer, there was a unique swell of pride and terror that came with watching individuals and groups negotiate their meandering around the space.
For myself, I was displaying the zines I have made a point of creating weekly since having a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy at the end of June this year. Covering the limited space of one side of an A4 with the ongoing developments of myself and the progression of my transition started as and remains a personal project. The content therein isn’t censored in the sense that I have written about intimately personal goings on, mentally, physically and otherwise, without regard for an eventual audience.
It was tremendous to see people stop and pick up, flick through and occasionally seem to become absorbed by my rambling scribbling. To then have a chance as a trans* person to answer questions about myself and as a writer about the content of my work was an experience I felt most humbled by. In particular, while these dual personal aspects share a similar space in my heart, I have never quite had the chance to combine and display them on such a large and public scale.
To do so and be met with such extraordinary kindness and intrigue was an experience I would love to replicate again one day. Not for the attention, not for the positive feedback, but for the chance to educate and illuminate my space in the trans* community. For in that space I made the existence of my experiences as a non-binary transgender individual a little more visible. I took these desperately personal experiences, taboo and otherwise, and turned them out wild to the eyes of other people. I have struggled this year to remain here, so to be able to display myself so bare as a writer and an individual was an experience I will forever cherish.
(This article dealt with some pretty heavy topics so if you reside in Australia and would like to talk to someone, please call QLife or Lifeline. If you live outside Australia, here’s a list of lines you may be interested in calling – Suicide Crisis Lines)