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Media rec: To Survive on this Shore

Title: To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

Creators: Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre

Format: Website and book

Description: "Representations of older transgender people are nearly absent from our culture and those that do exist are often one-dimensional. For over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States creating To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults. Seeking subjects whose lived experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location, they traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals share a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States. The resulting portraits and narratives provide a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offer a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds." (From the project website)

Thoughts: This project is extremely important! The description above pretty much covers the reasons why, so I'll just say that reading the interviews and looking at the portraits gave me so many feelings. A lot of younger trans and gender diverse people don't know very many, if any, older ones; this can make it difficult both to imagine a future or ourselves, and to place our identities in the context of a rich history of gender diversity. The print book version of the content is sold out on the website, but it looks like Thrift Books has copies available.


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