Reflections Of Me...

'Reflections of Me...' is a mixed media exploration of my journey from birth to adulthood as a transgender person. Assigned female at birth, but living as a pre-testosterone male for almost a year now, this work is a very personal reflection on my childhood years.

The way society builds upon birth gender to create an exterior conformity far too often masks the reality of a life trapped in the wrong body. A reality that was my life until August 2016 when I came out as a female to male transgender and very quickly began a life of transitioning by rejecting those non-physical symbols of gender I had felt further constrained by.

This piece is about showing the story of my childhood growing up outwardly as a girl but contrasting this with the inner fantasy story of how I might have looked growing up outwardly as a boy.

Using a range of photographs of myself as a girl I hand-edited half of these to create images of myself as a boy at that age. I chose to use charcoal drawings, mono prints and etching plates to translate original colour photographs into artistic interpretations devoid of gender associated colour. This aims to highlight the possibility of gender fluidity or change in any child if societal expectations do not impede upon the potential of their inner being to make themselves known.

I worked with both the original and edited images to illustrate my story in the form of an installation based on a child's bedroom. For many transgender people their gender is assigned in utero when the parents choose to find out a probable gender at the 20 week scan. This often starts a run of stereotyped clothing purchases and decisions about nursery decor. The designs change as the child grows up but the overarching messages that we receive from them do not. How a child has their hair styled, what they wear and their room decoration tells them and society what their physical body has mapped out for them. If only life was always so straightforward and clear-cut...