TransSurfacingis an investigation into the current cultures of transgender people in America. As a lesbian who came of age during the era of the Stonewall riots and identity politics, and who identifies as butch, I’ve experienced a lifetime of negotiating a nonconforming gender identity and presentation. However, the feelings of being in the wrong body are ones that are unfamiliar. The dual experience of what is on the one hand so familiar, and yet deeply unfamiliar is what compelled me to explore this subject.
TransSurfacingis meant to be a snapshot of contemporary trans* culture—at a moment when transgender issues and representatives are beginning to break through into mainstream culture, yet are still bound tightly within the disciplined control of a dominant cisgender American society that metes out privilege or violence based on class and race; it is by no means meant to be a complete characterization and assessment of current gender expression and transgender culture, but rather is a soupçon of contemporary personal experiences and perspectives meant to spark discussion. The collage issued primarily from research and images gathered from the internet, as well as from one-on-one conversations and films, articles and books. Several transgender people were asked to view the completed work and offer their candid opinions. The result is a circular conversation between the artist, the viewer and the some in the transgender community.
* Trans (without the asterisk) is best applied to trans men and trans women, while the asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all non-cisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and trans woman.