11.28.2010

So Does This Mean You Want a Penis?

I stumbled across this project by accident while procrastinating my NaNoWriMo Novel. The artist is L.Weingarten and the project pretty much speaks for itself.

If you are interested anonymously add your "question" in the comments....

It seems fair that people are curious about transgender people. It seems to me that until recently transgender folk have sort of flown under the radar, been quiet and closeted and more timid in coming out. Perhaps this is becasue it is more challenging to the social fabric of society  because so many other things are based on biological sex rather than gender including sexual orientation. The notion of gender is  ingrained in us from the moment we're born and while I am all for educating people because I feel education eliminates ignorance and can alleviate fear which in my opinion is at the root of all violence. But while we are undergoing this great re-education about gender  I would like to also point out that while someone might be curious about "how the whole tranny thing works" the questions they may ask may be completely inappropriate. I have posted about this a few times and I have come to realize there is more than enough information out there in internetland for most people to become well versed in the innies to outies and vice versa of a transgender journey.

This doesn't mean we are obligated to answer questions that are too personal or make us feel uncomfortable. If we were to turn the tables and ask others these questions, we would be labelled nosy and pervertedly curious. No one's sex life, body, medical choices, genitals, or self expression are anyone's business but your own. But before this becomes another rant, here is the link to the project website. I have included the artist's statement under an image from the project the content of which hits close to home for me. Enjoy.


This ongoing body of work explores the power dynamics inherent in the questions asked of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender-variant people.

Many documentary photographic projects that deal with trans issues exploit the genders of their subjects, pointing to an "otherness" or inappropriately exoticizing their bodies. A Series of Questions seeks instead to make visible the transphobia and gender-baiting that can become part of everyday interactions and lives, forming a fuller picture of the various lived experiences. In so doing, this work contrasts with the dehumanizing approaches that predominate the images made of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender-variant people, which often focus solely on their gender or trans status, or use them to further a specific point about social construction and gender.

The subjects hold signs depicting questions that each has had posed to them personally— some by strangers, others by loved ones, friends, or colleagues. Presented on white wooden boards, the questions are turned on the viewer, shifting the dynamics under which they were originally asked, and prompting the viewer to cast a reflective, self-critical eye upon themself, revealing how invasive this frame of reference can be.


As a greater number of subjects and questions are accumulated, a relentless conversation of questioning emerges. Attention is directed not on the backgrounds of the transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or gender-variant subjects, but on the dynamics at work in these conversations. I am interested in uncovering the typology of these questions, discovering what categories of questions emerge as the script of power dynamics and interrogation is flipped.



To see more images from the project visit
www.lweingarten.com/projects/ques/

1 comment:

Damon Wille said...

Thank you so much for posting this link. And also, for your writings. It helps me to think through my own journey.