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everything is modified

interrupt the narrative that we have a fixed destiny & trajectory on the basis of our bodies. the body never exists in isolation from culture. this idea of a “pure innate body” outside the matrix of social relations that give the body its meaning has long been used to justify racism & misogyny: ie the eugenicist notion that racialized & gendered people are innately primed for violence/degeneracy/predation/hysteria. this isolation facilitates the normalization of gross inequality which produces our disparate life chances & outcomes. social, cultural, and political factors physically shape & manipulate our bodies & lives. disrupt the hierarchy of “innateness” as more valid/real/truthful than “modification.” these polarities & dualities are false, misleading, and constructions themselves. everything is modified. everything is influenced. everything is connected. why is it when individuals take modification into our own hands it becomes a problem, but when governments disproportionately allocate resources it’s not? this is about power, not purity. or rather: purity is always about power. innate bodies are not as pure as they posture themselves. we are all influenced, contaminated, co-constituted, melded, shaped, co-produced. this continual intermingling of bodies, technologies, histories, sciences, artifacts is one of the only constants of life itself.

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cis/heterosexuality is not the origin

we do not have an innate predisposition to be straight and cis. the most organic & original form of our body is not cis or straight. cis/straight people are not more natural or innate than we are. i have always been queer, always been non-binary, i was forcibly put into straightness & manhood and then told that these ways of existing were the innate & only ways to be. this pride let us commit to decentering cis/heterosexuality as the origin, the prototype, the norm. it is not: the idea that heterosexuality & the gender binary is innate is not a biological fact, it is a political construction that delegitimizes queer & trans people.

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anatomy is possibility

our bodies are not fixed & static — they are in perpetual motion, oozing & tap dancing outside of the words that we use to confine them. there is no one sequence to its choreography. there are infinite. how dare they speak of the body as if it is stuck? how dare they use it to justify their bigotry they disguise as biology? how dare they make me my body? my body is greater than me. and i am greater than my body. our bodies are not confined by skin, they are tremendous & worldly. they constantly spill over & outside, they find intimacy & allegiance with everything — utterly polyamorous. i am currently occupying more space than vision & reason & logic can allow you to see. (so are you). i created this garment because i wanted to expand the contour of my body. my body it shimmers. incandescent & prone to spontaneous creation.
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anatomy is not destiny

the lines of where we draw a body are cultural & particular, not fixed and universal. So often heteronormativity shames queer & trans people as “lacking” the appropriate kind of anatomy. But this neglects the magic of queer & trans people. We redefine the borders & boundaries of our anatomy. We use technologies to expand, confine, edit, hack, emancipate our embodiment. We are deeply ambivalent about the borders we inherit — the ones between us & our happiness, us & our people, us & our genders. In this way: we reject the myth of anatomy as destiny. We reject the moral & cultural foregrounding of our births as the only point of origin. We originate new bodies & new births every day. We make our own origin stores. Transition was giving birth to myself was forging my own anatomy. This is why we are so persecuted. In a world that is death dealing, we are life giving. They mark us as lacking the ability to create life, of having the “wrong” anatomy. But what kind of life are they living when they cannot appreciate our abundant anatomical joy?

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individualism is loneliness

originally written: 2/13/19
spent all day today texting with 10 strangers (potential friends) at @theinvisibledog ! we talked about anything & everything: finding home, how to negotiate boundaries with family, the apocalypse, how to get over heart break, worrying, energy, gender, kindness, forgiveness, spirit guides, becoming, grief. at one point someone taught me how to breathe through anxiety attacks! after they left i wrote each person a love letter. this week i am celebrating alternative forms of intimacy to challenge the glorification of normative romantic love. today was about stranger intimacy. stranger intimacy is especially important to me: so often we can talk to people we don’t know more candidly than the people in our lives. for a moment we get to re-invent ourselves anew, try something different — not just introducing ourselves to them, but to ourselves, too, every system of oppression is predicated on the production of strangers — that place where we hold all of our anxiety, fear & rage. the construction of the modern individual requires loneliness — the framing of others as threats, not friends. when we actually meaningfully engage with each other the divisional & fear-mongering logics which lubricate the status quo dissolve & we are confronted by another jug of stories, tissues, & bones just trying to figure it out. stranger intimacy is also important personally to me because i have been harassed & attacked so many times in public & had no one defend me or ask me if i was okay. sometimes it feels impossible to go outside as myself because of this violation of trust. today was also about exercising trust in strangers: remembering that there are people in the world who i do not know who care about me & would defend me (& i them). i am so grateful to everyone who came for taking time to bear witness to each other & i love & need you very much

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strangers are potential friends

I believe that I can fall in love with everyone in the world. I believe I need other people to figure out myself. I believe that other people are just as complex and contradictory as me. I believe everyone has a fundamental dignity and worth simply for being. I believe Western individualism is killing us. I believe that we shouldn’t have to be in romantic love to be cared for. I believe that care is more important than critique. I believe friendship is sacred. I believe that I am afraid of dying alone. I believe loneliness is a form of international emergency. I believe that we are more connected than ever but have never felt more alone. I believe we sometimes use irony because we are afraid of intimacy. I believe in interdependence. I believe the way that we have been taught is to use, and not to need. I believe needy people are honest people. I believe feeling is one of the most dangerous things I have ever done. I believe sadness is a form of consciousness. I believe we should be able to cry in public. I believe depression is not my fault. I believe we were meant for something more kind and just than this. I believe kindness can be a form of justice. I believe I am heartbroken not by one person, but by the world. I believe that strangers are potential friends. I believe that strangers are potential friends.

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there are as many ways to be as there are people in the world

men are so lazy they make women do the work of patriarchy for them. straight people are so lazy they make queer people do the work of homophobia for them. cis people are so lazy they make trans people do the work of transphobia for them. because queer & trans people know the art of exclusion so well we practice it on our own, say: “at least i am not that!” our appearance should have no bearing on our legitimacy. we should be able to look different. we should be able to be different. we shouldn’t have to all look and act the same. we should be able to fight for our multitudes. we should recognize that there are as many ways to be as there are people in this world & that is our strength. if we are required to look a certain way in order to be accepted then they do not actually accept us. conditional acceptance is not justice. what would it look like for queer & trans people to love ourselves more than they hate us? or rather: what would it look like for queer & trans people to love ourselves more than we hate us?

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Change the Cistem, Not My Appearance!

Just a reminder that you should be able to look like whatever the fuck you want without having to fear or endure violence and harassment. This means we shouldn’t have to look “normal,” “beautiful,” shouldn’t have to look like “men” or “women.” Neither our physical appearance nor the way we dress should have any bearing on our safety. Rather than putting the onus on individual people to “change the way we look” to make other people more comfortable, instead challenge a system that links our worth to our appearance!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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A Star is Born: Support Transfeminine Artists

trans women & femmes continue through the street with our heads held high as they laugh at & insult us (a star is born). trans women & femmes turn the most iconic looks of the era without a creative team or production budget (a star is born). trans women & femmes persist despite relentless transmisogyny from all directions (a star is born). what would our art look like if people invested even half of the love & support they do for cis hetero women pop stars in us? what would the world look like if it acknowledged the contributions of transfeminine people & its indebtedness to us?

internalized homophobia & transphobia looks like cis gay people living for cis hereto white pop stars, and not even caring if we live. it is a gross injustice that so many trans women & transfeminine performers i know struggle so hard to get people to show up for our shows & support our art. this needs to change! 

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photoshoots make me feel safe

the world i feel safe. the presence of a camera makes people more comfortable with me. transmisogyny means that most people just see me as a costume — as if i am playing dress up for some sort of event or production. the camera makes people feel like this is ephemeral, something that i can take off and go back to “normal.” the camera makes them more able to consolidate me into their world view: oh it’s for some art project, some film, something... there always needs to be an explanation, a context. gender non-conformity is never allowed to just be, to exist in its own terms. we are always made into a spectacle. when people ask me what i want what i am fighting for us actually quite simple: to be. to be.

dress: @flintjmcdonaldmakeup:@ogrebabe photo: @matthewarthurwilliams


paradoxical lives

our lives are paradoxical. we are lonely together. we hate what we love. we fear what sets us free. we hurt to heal. we find ourselves through finding other people. paradoxes are invitations to new paradigms. there are no inconsistencies here, there are just opportunities to re-imagine. it took other people seeing me in order for me to see myself. we come into ourselves by coming to one another. we need each other to get free. we need each other to get free.

Portrait by Mathew Arthur Williams (Glasgow 2018)

Portrait by Mathew Arthur Williams (Glasgow 2018)