Hen The Exhibition, by Bex Day

01.03.2019 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

British fashion and documentary photographer Bex Day in collaboration with producer curator Sandrine Servent and artist publisher William Esdale have recently joined forces in the conception of a campaign which seeks to raise awareness and visibility of the UK’s older transgender community.  The campaign titled ‘Hen’ is an initiative Day has been working on for the past three years, that aims to promote a better understanding of integration in and outside the transgender community through an exhibition, film, talks and workshops. 

According to Day, “Hen is an anthropological study on gender fluidity and an exploration into the lasting impact societal restrictions concerning sexual identity and gender roles upon us. It examines how gender stereotypes have affected the older transgender community and questions how we define gender and if as a society we should, as well as exploring the inherent social and cultural problems within these alienating classifications.” The exhibition is set to display a series of 30 photographic portraits in various sizes and a newly commissioned film featuring subjects over the age of 40 which with successful funding, will take place in London at the Herrick Gallery during the first week of April following Trans Day of Visibility day on March 31st.

Unfortunately , the campaign is sans funding and is in attempt of seeking financial sponsors to cover the expenses of the panel discussion, transport and installation of the artwork, equipment for the three workshops among other costs. The workshops will be hosted by the charity Stonewall Housing with whom the exhibition has partnered with to ensure that 50% of prints sales goes to the organization as one of the UK’s LGBTQ+ and trans only supported accommodations. Twenty percent will also be contributed to partners Press For Change as one of the UK’s leading campaign groups in focus of the rights and treatment of transgender people. To donate, visit Hen The Exhibition, to learn how. 

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Beyond Gender with & Other Stories

28.08.2015 | Blog , Culture | BY:

There’s no doubt that transgendered issues have been brought into the greater cultural conversation over the past year. While fashion has long toyed with gender fluidity and featured androgynous and trans models like Andreija Pejic in campaign imagery, no major brand has seemingly addressed gender non-conformity as much as H&M’s little sister, & Other Stories. Their new campaign not only stars trans models, Hari Nef and Valentijn De Hingh, but was produced by a predominantly trans crew, celebrating their artistry in front and behind the camera.

Representation and increased visibility is undoubtedly a good thing – it broadens perspectives and offers more opportunities for minorities to be included in a wider narrative. But there are only so much a few magazine covers and documentary specials can do, and in an industry that’s obsessed with newness – both falsely inviting and cruelly fickle – how do we make sure this isn’t another seasonal trend that disappears in six months. And in a time when the trans community still struggles with unemployment, discrimination and lack of opportunity, how much are we doing if the same creative teams get rehired to produce campaigns.

By hiring an all transgendered below-the-line talent including photographer Amos Mac (founder of Original Plumbing), stylist Love Bailey and makeup artist Nina Poon, & Other Stories empowers everyone involved to control the means of their own representation. The behind the scenes video is quick to highlight how the team bonded on set, which comes across in the campaign itself, showing the power of shared experiences. When talking to Dazed, Nef noted that prior collaborations in fashion hadn’t always entailed empathy and understanding but, “With a trans team however, it’s all there.” The campaign also raises an important question about ‘the gaze’, long associated with fashion imagery, & Other Stories asks whether, in this case, the cisgender gaze could change if a trans team produced the imagery.

Fashion dictates who does and does not get to participate in the world of luxury and beauty, but as Nef notes in the video, campaigns like this – and on a greater level, the Internet – have expanded and diversified fashion’s audience, who demand to be both represented and included. In the past year alone, Selfridges experimented with the Agender Project while a new online, unisex-only fashion platform, You Do You, launched this month promoting designers like Eckhaus Latta, Vejas and Timo Weiland, all of whom produce collections not tied to a gender binary. In the US, Target has promised to remove gender-based labels on toys, which hopefully signifies the industry is finally noticing the importance of empowering a diverse set of consumers – let’s just hope it doesn’t disappear in six months time.

Words by Alex LeRose

stories.com

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