Sunday, 27 November 2016

Burn the Witch

During the shoot development of images with Tina, a retired lorry driver from Basildon, Essex, we went for a brief walk around her neighbourhood. Tina was fully dressed in a dramatic red sparkling number and red heals. I am always impressed by the courage of anyone to be themselves, it reminds me of my own painful process of extricating myself from my hetero-normative cocoon as a young gay man.

The ‘trans’ experience is similar but not the same, gayness cannot always be 'seen', with sexuality there can be some relief from the relentless attention when we step outside the heteronormative. The trans experience demands at some point that we will slip on a cute little number, a cheap wig and some lippy and nip down to Tesco and hope to be accepted by being ignored. We all should take responsibility for the effect of any unwanted attention on our fellow humans even if our motives are decent but it is hard not to be distracted by a shiny object in all this mundanity.  The emotional response to negative, unwanted attention affects us in different ways, some of us withdraw into isolation and depression, others find the strength to be ourselves and magnify our personas further as a polite fuck you to society; there are many responses to the journey towards self-realisation.

Although we live in a relatively free thinking society where we can ‘be’ and behave however we choose, there are still forces externally and internally to be defeated and I think anyone that does not rely too much on the scaffolding of conventional cultural representation to define themselves should be celebrated as an inspiration for us all.

So ‘coming out’ in the area we live, when anger and frustration at society can easily be mis-directed towards difference, is not without its perils.

These pictures show Tina walking me towards the scene of the Guy Fawkes night bonfire where the flames were fed by the children of the area, pulling up the fence around her property. No one else’s fences were touched. What I see as a threat to individualism and to Tina personally, she brushes off casually, there is no sense of stress or bitterness in her and she is matter of fact about the experience. This is normal for her.

Tina on Burnt Ground (_7285) © Richard Ansett 2016

Tina on Burnt Ground (_7287) © Richard Ansett 2016

Tina on Burnt Ground (_7294) © Richard Ansett 2016

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