To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

DescriptionFor over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States seeking individuals whose experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location. Dugan and Fabbre moved from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of transgender and gender nonconforming older adults, an important but largely underrepresented population. The project’s participants have a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States.

While Dugan has explored issues of identity, gender, and sexuality—and has often worked within LGBTQ communities specifically—in their earlier photographs, this is their first body of work that focuses on older adults, a result of their collaboration with Fabbre. Dugan’s portraits are open and emotive, utilizing direct eye contact to facilitate a meaningful exchange between subject and viewer. Within the project, each of Dugan’s photographs is accompanied by an excerpt from a full-length interview conducted by Fabbre. These texts give insight into each individual’s lived experience, enhancing the viewer’s connection to each subject’s story. The exhibition provides a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offers a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

A companion publication, To Survive on This Shore, was published as a hardcover book by Kehrer Verlag in 2018.

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults is an exhibition organized by Barrett Barrera Projects.
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