“... that gender is a choice, or that gender is a role, or that gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning, that there is a 'one' who is prior to this gender, a one who goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today.” ― Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
In most western societies, conventional understanding of gender divides into the binary opposition of masculinity and femininity, conflating masculine with male and femininity with female. However, gender is not something we are born with - sex is, but gender is not. More contemporary thinking conceptualizes this division as a false construct and in recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of people exploring the masculine/feminine continuum and taking various, and sometimes multiple, places along it.
This project looks at transgender people who explore multiple gender identities, positioning themselves as combination of masculine, feminine and androgynous in different spaces.
I am interested in the relationship between gender and place and how different aspects of gender are played out within the different settings of daily life. Based within people’s homes and personal spaces, this project explores the different ways people engage with gender within home life. Whether a cross dresser, transsexual, drag queen or king, each individual has a personal story, different reasons behind their transgender way of life.
A caption will give a bit more background about the individuals, in their own words.
Ever since I’ve been little up until the last few years I’ve always been mistaken for a girl. When I was little I never used to hang around with boys, I used to just hang around with girls playing with make up and dolls. I spent the last 12 years taking female impersonation and drag more seriously.
It’s great fun to dress up as a girl, I’m a lot more confortable as a girl, I feel very uptight as a boy and not relaxed or comfortable. I’m not suicidal about being a boy, so I’m not a transsexual in that respect, I can get by as a boy.
I dress up as a girl when I’m seeing by boyfriend or when I’m performing, but it’s a lot less practical as it takes much longer to get ready.
I don’t know why I dress up in drag, and that’s why I sort of do it. It was more of a compulsion at first helped along by RuPaul’s Drag Race. I really enjoy becoming something different, not just a women, but a weird, faggy place in the middle of club-kid, glamour try-hard, and giant leggy clown. There’s also an element of social discomfort and conformity as well.
I'm just 'performing' gender differently because … well, partly because its really fun to be subversive, it's fun to create costumes and personas, it's creative, it's political. And also partly because of who I am personally. I am pretty much an equal mix of masculine and feminine and I have never been comfortable as just a 'female'. I feel like something else - not a full time man, but not a full time woman either. I don't buy into the gender binary system.
I grew up like a boy, with two brothers and the only girl in my class for years, I didn’t know anything else. As I grew older and became surrounded by more females I slowly became more feminine. In the last year I’ve started going out as a drag queen – dressed up overly feminine. I am influenced by the people around me and feel I have both masculine and feminine qualities.
I’ve been cross dressing on and off throughout my life, in my early teens and 20s I hid it, when I got a little older I went to the Boudoir in London with Jody Lin, she took me out shopping, clubbing, she took me out in the real world, and it built up my confidence in doing it. I now cross dress once or twice a month. I only do it when I actually have time to do it properly, I don’t want to look draggy I want to blend in. I feel very comfortable in both genders, but I do feel more female than male. At the moment I’m taking estragon and testosterone blockers to bring on feminine features.