he exhibition portrays the many realities of modern trans life, whilst also posing a bigger question about the way trans lives are missing from larger national museum collections. From boxes of hormones, to a homemade pack and pee, to “not the prettiest” first bra, to real post-surgery body parts, the collection and the stories attached to it reflect the current vibrancy, bravery and increasing confidence of the UK’s trans community.
Over 100 objects have been ‘crowdsourced’ as a way of empowering trans people to tell their own stories. The everyday artefacts are full of sentiment precisely because they are real life things accompanied by real life voices. Touching, powerful and provocative, so that the viewer is able to learn from, question and understand what is displayed in front of them. It is a historically significant collection because it has been collated at a time that marks a shift in our society’s definition of gender - and has the potential to fill an unrecorded gap in our museums that still use binary gendered archival systems.
Collector and curator E-J Scott says:
“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. Ultimately, the exhibition is about how every single one of us deserves the freedom to fashion who we want to be. 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.”
In tune with fashion’s increasing interest with gender-fluid fashion, the timing of this exhibition exemplifies the increasing awareness surrounding trans peoples’ lives, exploring the many ways trans people transform their bodies and reshape their silhouettes to reflect their unique gender identities, debunking rigid gender stereotypes and biological determinism. Featuring Brooklyn tailors Bindle & Keep, renowned for specialising in garments for non-gender conforming clients; London College of Fashion graduate Hanni Yang, Yves Saint Laurent & Vivienne Westwood and campaign materials featuring trans model Munroe Bergdorf.
With visuals by fine art photographer Bharat Sikka, the UK’s most prolific social community photographer of the trans community Sharon Kilgannon, 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 and the increasing awareness of trans issues, due to be announced in January 2017.