[A trans* person looks into a mirror. On the mirror there are several phrases written:
In red text: “Fuck cis-ciety.” / “Fuck passing. Passing = conforming to what you think I should look like.” / “and fuck you if my anger at my brothers & sisters being slaughtered makes you uncomfortable.” / “When it comes down to it, who I am should matter more than the way you fuck me.” / “Respect me for who i am. Regardless of who you think I should be.” / “This is UNACCEPTABLE.”
In blue text: “(Boys don’t cry) / “(Today I am male. Will you still love me? Will you still respect me? Will you still think I’m good enough?)” / “Why is my reflection someone I don’t know? Somehow I cannot hide Who I am though I’ve tried. When will my reflection show Who I am inside?” / “By their 22nd birthday, 64% of us have attempted suicide.”]
[A drawing of a person in heels and a dress with the words: “The words will knock about in her head: Harlot / slut / tease / loose woman / Some people can not handle a woman on the loose.”]
[An infographic titled: “The Genderbread Person, revised”. Under the title there is black text on a grey rectangle: “Gender is one of those things everyone thinks they understand, but most people don’t. Gender isn’t binary. Gender’s not even a spectrum or a continuum. Gender is a complex concept of n-dimensions that varies wildly from person to person. The only way to understand a person’s gender is to ask them.” Below this is a picture of a gingerbread person holding a sign that says: “Ask me about my identity.”]
The Genderbread Person infographic, revised to remove all cissexist ideas.
[A person kneels, their eyes closed and their hands clasped in prayer. They are wrapped in a white sheet, reminiscent of a white funeral sari, on which the names, ages, and cause of deaths for the 221 reported murdered trans* persons from November 20th 2010 to November 14th 2011 are written. Around them are 221 candles, one for each of the victims.]
In memory of the victims — because one day is not enough.
(This was from the most heart-breaking shoot ever. The Day of Remembrance, 2010.)
The moment before you meet Jane Vance, you will have no idea the power of the soul you are about to come in contact with.
You will see the kindness in her smile and the wisdom in the lines of her face. You will sense the strength and resilience in the timbre of her voice.
And if you take the time to sit, and listen as she lives and shares and speaks so tenderly and lovingly of beauty and truth and friendship, dedication, mindfulness, life, you will know what I have felt.
I’ve had the privilege of hearing her speak and I am a better person for it. I cannot explain to you her words, or her stories. Not because they are complicated or poetic, but that the moment I start to relive them I am enlivened with such an energy to take arms against this sea of troubles, and by god, good friends, come with me to end them.
I am no wide-eyed idealist, no Panglossian pollyanna. I am in the brutish and short camp, of the redness of tooth and claw, of a thousand devilish wickednesses.
But Jane resonates that part of me shakes with urgency, with passion, with fervor, because the time for beauty is now. The time for art and love and harmony and humanity is now.
We can not have our art with its back against the walls. We can not afford to have cadaverous art.
We need our art alive and breathing and communal and shared.
Bridge the verbal and the visual, the rich and poor, and smart and dumb, and east and west, and all those other dangerously restrictive and arbitrary distinctions and who knows what can happen when all forces are free to meet as they choose.
I dedicate this place to Jane Vance. And to everyone else who seeks and shares beauty in anything they do.