[transpose], a new project by photographer Alison McDonnell, captures the lived realities of transgender people in Dublin, Ireland. Framing the subjects in their homes or at Outhouse, a Dublin-based LGBT community and resource center, [transpose] disrupts a gaze where place, specifically ‘safe spaces’, and identity are in juxtaposition to the question: Is it fair to be denied rights, respect and dignity just because of who you are?
Much like Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold, a “transgender community art initiative” which originated in San Diego, California, the strength of these projects is found in its authentic perspectives. It is a visibility where the subject controls the image and therefore the story.
These controlled expressions, contextualized around veritable trans* narratives, are an opportunity and present the audience with a challenge. As transgender people continue to disrupt narrow representation and as cultural awareness slowly expands to include the lived impact of just how deeply institutionalized binary gender norms are, we have an obligation to shift our focus towards building and supporting communities where gender expression is a value and a right.
Featured Image via Alison McDonnell’s series March for Marriage 2010-2013