This is an informal roundtable composed of a cross section of transgender artists and writers engaged in cultural production unique to their experience. The participants will pose questions to each other and the audience. They may investigate how they thrive/survive the experience of trans/GNC in a hostile world while they insist on being seen and heard as artists in the context of invisibility and misrepresentation.
The moderator will encourage participants in advance to prepare and ask their own questions as well as offer answers to the moderator’s questions and each other. The goal is to generate a discussion about the future of transgender cultural production in the wake of marriage equality; whether or not marriage equality is a milestone for the trans/GNC community or essentially irrelevant to the lives and well-being of transgender folks. Whatever the answer is, it is the proposal of this roundtable that LGBT scholars should turn their attention to the trans artistic community as a legitimate subject and train their powerful tools of investigation, criticism and analysis on the work of that community’s artists.
The session organizer, McCorkle Terence Diamond, hypothesizes that trans and gender nonconforming (GNC) artists make work both born out of and contributing to the invention of a new aesthetic. It is an aesthetic that rejects the notion of a single story trans/GNC narrative.
Just as it is imperative for trans/GNC people to own their lives and to refuse the Faustian bargain of a commodified lifestyle (certainly the unintended consequence of marriage equality) it is incumbent on trans/GNC artists to invent a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a new trans/GNC artists movement. Further, this aesthetic is a worthy subject of LGBT scholarship. Trans cultural history should be given the same attention as LGBT cultural history. LGBT arts and culture scholars should train their critical and analytical lens on this new field to both preserve the unique work that trans artists make and as well offer the trans aesthetic as a subject of academic inquiry.