The world is currently and understandably worried about US President Donald Trump's travelling ban. But, a few months ago, soon after he was elected, the members of the American (and global) LGBT community expressed their concerns about their rights, with many transgender people rushing to change their gender and name, scared the new administration would take that right away.
Considering these events, the exhibition currently on at the Fashion Space Gallery (located within London College of Fashion in 20 John Prince’s Street, London, W1G 0BJ) assumes a new global resonance.
Entitled "Museum of Transology" (until 22nd April 2017), curated by E-J Scott and commissioned by Ligaya Salazar, the event is a sort of archive of trans-artifacts and photographic portraiture.
The collection includes around 100 crowd-sourced objects accompanied by a handwritten label explaining why that specific item was important for the transition of the person who donated it.
Some pieces tell stories about courage and bravery, others help learning more about UK's trans community.
There is a bit of everything - from clothes to small toys to keep the mind off negative thoughts, from a homemade pack and pee and a first but "not the prettiest" bra, to real post-surgery body parts.
There are particularly touching simple objects that could be considered as modern relics of everyday lives such as a lipstick donated by a supportive sister, silvery bridesmaid shoes and a badge given by parents to support their child's gender reassignment surgery.
Yet there are also boxes of hormones that remind of the complex path to treatment, and sections of the exhibition dedicated to creative adaptability and to those people who choose to celebrated trans-ness with prosthetics and make up rather than surgery.
There are therefore a lot of issues to ponder about, and some of them seem to be particularly relevant considering Trump's views on women and on LGBT's issues. Feminists and trans-activists share indeed some points in their fights and there are actions they may take together against narrow-minded conservative politicians.
Exploring the artifacts on display will help visitors discovering how people self-shaped gender identities, but will also prompt them to wonder why trans lives are often omitted from larger national museum collections.
Collector and curator E-J Scott states in a press release, "The objects people have chosen to donate to the Museum of Transology are strikingly intimate, and make a unique contribution to broader social debates surrounding body politics, gender inequality and the continuing attachment of biological sex to gender despite three waves of feminism."
While the personal objects included in the event constitute a sort of exploration of trans-identities and a way to deconstruct a gender to reconstruct transness, the designs and artworks featured inspire visitors to rethink trans issues from a creative yet socially and politically engaged point of view.
Since for quite a few seasons fashion has expressed a strong interest in blurring the boundaries between sexes and coming up with gender-fluid collections, at times getting directly inspired by the way trans people transform their bodies and reshape their silhouettes, the event also features pieces by Brooklyn tailors Bindle & Keep, who specialise in garments for non-gender conforming clients, by London College of Fashion graduate Hanni Yang, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood and campaign materials featuring trans model Munroe Bergdorf.
The art section of the exhibition includes instead photography by Bharat Sikka and Sharon Kilgannon, who was commissioned a project entitled "Brighton Trans*formed" that chronicles the lives and experiences of Brighton & Hove's Transgender community; award winning My Genderation films by Fox Fisher, Sexing the Transman and Mr Angel documentaries from international FTM adult film star and film director Buck Angel, and behind the scenes footage from the filming of Born Risky by Grayson Perry.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an events programme of youth tours, trans awareness workshops, "transology" and "transcestory" debates and a Trans Fashion symposium exploring the links between gender-fluid fashion. It is therefore highly recommended to fashion students, designers and creative minds out there interested in exploring and enriching the genderless glossary.
"The exhibition is about how every single one of us deserves the freedom to fashion who we want to be," concludes E-J Scott, "Fashion designers and communicators of the future can - and must - continue to play an increasingly significant role in challenging the constraints of gender stereotypes perpetuated by the industry."
Image credis for this post
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 Museum of Transology Installation Images by Katy Davies
1, 7, 8, 9, 14 Museum of Transology Object Images by Katy Davies