The week of Dec 6, the day where we all list the names of the women murdered in Montreal 33 years ago, seems like a good time to talk about solidarity and interconnectedness.
This anniversary is still powerful enough to interrupt the news cycle and that’s a good thing. But it feels uncomfortable to mark this day of violence against cis women while it feels, especially lately, like each new act of violence against queer and trans people, trans women especially, gets immediately snowed under by the next one.
We cis queers and white women are pretty ok, and it’s beyond time that we do more to turn the strength and power we bring to Dec 6 outward. Grow it, make the table longer, the umbrella wider. Respond to the deaths of trans women with this same volume and rage we bring to Dec 6, but also respond to the lives of trans people and two-spirit people and indigenous women with the same love and celebration and fierce loyalty cis women show each other. Scarcity thinking of any kind is a trap, and liberation especially can and should be abundant.
The news cycle has moved on but I haven’t moved on from the shooting at Club Q. And the shooting at Pulse, and all the violence committed against all the other queer, and more often trans, people whose names we don’t recite every year. We see so many tributes in art to the dead like the one above by Jennifer White Johnson, and they’re more and more devastating to see. The photo of Daniel Davis Aston, with his peaceful face and his scars, hit me particularly hard. It feels insane to even type out this sentence, but nobody should have to get murdered to have beautiful art made of their beautiful face.
Solidarity, Not Charity
As a small act of solidarity and celebration, from now on I will offer solidarity portraits (aka free portraits) to trans folks. We’ll work together to create beautiful art of your beautiful self. Pared down or glammed up or whatever will capture you in all your glory. All shot on film, of course.
Because visibility without safety can put people at even greater risk, it will be entirely up to you what you do with these photos. They won’t go on the internet unless you choose to share them or ask me to expressly. (If you do want your beautiful self out there and give consent, I’ll proudly share the hell out your photos). They’re yours.
Not Just in ‘Murica
Violent rhetoric leads to violent action, as we’ve seen in the staggering amount of transphobic legislation passed in the US in the last year. Transphobia leads directly to a denial of healthcare and housing. It leads to devastating mental health outcomes (studies show 40% of trans people attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Forty. Percent.) and it leads to physical violence like what happened at Club Q.
It isn’t an American problem. We saw school trustee candidates in Cowichan during the recent municipal election running on platforms that sought to undermine SOGI education. Drag events in Victoria were cancelled this summer due to threats of violence. In Vancouver last week there was and anti-queer and anti-trans protest outside an elementary school in Kits.
Spread the Word
It would mean so much to me if you would help me spread the word about this. Tell your lovers and friends, tell the trans youth in your life and in your community. Book by just sending me an email. Completely free of charge. Easy peasy. I’ll be posting about this to Instagram shortly, so keep an eye out for that and please do share.
Out of both logistical necessity and a desire to focus resources on my close communities, most of these portraits will take place on the southern half of Vancouver Island. I do visit the lower mainland at least a couple times a year so if you or folks you know don’t mind picking a date that lines up with one of those trips, I’d be thrilled to work together in or around Vancouver too.
Small actions taken together have the potential to become big actions, and I think therein lies our hope. As always, so grateful to have you here <3