A few years have already passed since the first research for my photo book “Frau Norbert und Herr Mandy” in 2017, my first inquiries, the first encounters and conversations. I was able to finish the photo book at the end of 2018, and to complete my colloquium at the beginning of the following year. The more I dealt with the work, the clearer it became to me that the photo book is by no means an end point of the project, but the beginning of a further journey. This journey begins today.
As part of our society, I grew up with the same prejudices as everyone else. As part of the queer community I learned to question them, as I was inevitably confronted with them.
Many people do not understand what it means not to conform to the supposed social norm, to have to fight for recognition and their own rights all their lives. To deal with discrimination and exclusion, to experience physical and psychological violence. And, of course, to deal with their effects on their own lives and environment.
In some points I still don’t understand, some experiences I have not had and some I hope I will never have to have. What I do understand is that every day, worldwide, there are people who experience these cuts in their lives.
The own and social prejudices, which are often fed by collective ignorance and the fear of change and the unknown, have to be counteracted.
However, one must first become aware of one’s own ignorance. In the course of my research at the time, I came across various representations of trans* people in the media and in photography. While there were some excellent works, the majority of the operation followed generally known stereotypes. Contributions claiming to want to enlighten reinforced the exotic image. Often it became apparent that the quota was higher than the journalistic research work.
The more I researched myself, the more I talked to people and delved into specialist reading, the clearer it became to me how complex the topic is and how ambiguous many points of the complex are. From terms and definitions to attitudes towards certain issues – many things are based on individual points of view and many points of view claim to be universal.
It was and is important to me to present the diversity and variety of the different ways, persons and points of view.
The book was written with the thought and intention of creating an open encounter with people at eye level. Based on this, the project #BEINGTRANS provides an insight into people’s lives and how they deal with everyday limitations and their effects. It is a collection of inspiring everyday stories, positive as well as negative experiences, personal thoughts and individual insights on the topic “Trans*”. They do not claim to be universally valid, each life story is different and reflects the perspective of the respective person at the time of the encounter.
Together develop further
Through the many different perspectives, stories and suggestions one can begin to form one’s own picture. Through further multi-layered contents and perspectives, the collection of the project website can also grow, change and be supplemented. Through participation, by submitting your own stories, opinions as well as criticism, new ideas and contributions can emerge, which promote discourse and further develop the collection.
This is what I hope for, this is what I look forward to. But at the start of the project website I would like to welcome everyone and invite them to stay.