Trans-activist Friedrich Chernyshev and his Lavender Threat (Photo)

0 355

There is the exhibition of nominees for some award for young artists in PinchukArtCentre. It includes, among others, the work of Lviv artist Kinder Album – the room full of different objects where the visitors are supposed to loosen up and become a part of the exhibition. To do this you have to shoot the results of your interaction with art-space and put these photos online. These pictures are later shown on the screens in the room and on website iamkinderalbum.

Trans-activist Friedrich Chernyshev took this opportunity and made a series of explicit pictures that may be shocking for some people, with the help of photographer Olga Kononenko. The photos, having Friedrich as the main character, show the naked man with vagina. As the activist says, he wants to provoke public discussion with this art gesture, talking about transgender body and the prejudices regarding it.

“When I learnt about Kinder Album project, I decided to take this chance and participate in the performance. I was thinking of such action aimed at stereotypes about trans-body for a long time but I had troubles with bringing it to life. And here we had such a wonderful location and everything worked well,” tells he.

“Fritz asked me to participate in the project and take some pictures of him and I agreed. It’s great that he dared to make such a brave step,” tells Olga, his photographer, and marks that these pictures are not technically perfect but it makes them even more authentic.

Read also: Daddy can do everything – even become mommy

Friedrich explains that he wants to show that people’s bodies are very various, sometimes person’s appearance can be really different from the standard generally accepted – and it is normal.

The activist makes no secret of trying to confuse the audience with his photos. “I wanted to provoke the feeling called gender panic. This is the feeling of discomfort that appears when somebody understands that they can’t tell what gender has a person they see. I wanted to show how wrong people can see. Most of them are sure that a person with vagina is a woman. But when you cover this vagina with clothes, it stops being determinant attribute and people start estimating you according to the rest of appearance.”

“Trans-body issue is one of the most taboo body issues. Transgender body without complete transformation is assumed to be kept from the strangers as if it is something obscene because it doesn’t fit with the idea of “normal person” appearance that the majority has. Besides, it is assumed that transgender person can’t live full life till they transform their genitals. But it is wrong. Most of transgender people don’t need genital surgery and it’s common for trans-men, for example, to have surgery on the breast only,” says Friedrich.

At the same time there is another problem: a lot of FtM transgender people don’t do genital surgery not because they don’t want to but because this procedure is far from being perfect at this stage of medical industry development. And this is really big trouble.

“This is another aspect of the issue,” Fritz agrees, “because in the first place this surgery costs a lot, and in the second place it doesn’t have the intended effect. In post-Soviet countries men must pay for all necessary surgeries themselves and they prefer to give up phalloplasty. Of course, some of them need this surgery but really not many dare to do it. The appearance changes due to hormones and often most trans-men start accepting themselves right after mastectomy, being more comfortable in their bodies and even loving them. If your breast is flat, you can undress, for example, on the beach or in gym. Besides, eventually people have either family or steady relationship so the need in genital surgery disappears itself.”

“There are too many taboos in our society, despite the fact that we are living in XXI century. It’s time for people to accustom themselves to others having their own lives – which is natural. Diversity is helpful for development and prosperity of the society. People being transgender may seem shocking to someone, but they will get used to it in time. There was a time when a woman in trousers was seen as the top of moral degeneration. The world doesn’t stand still, changing is possible and necessary,” thinks Olga.

Read also: Nadia Plungian: “Feminism should be integrated to all activist initiatives”

Fritz’s photoshoot in PinchukArtCentre complies with the spirit of Lavender Threat queer-feminist group that he is one of the ideologues for. “We are against gender stereotypes. Why should we divide people into men and women? To know who is more privileged? To set inequality between them?” asks the activist. “Me and my group, we are talking about being transgender from the point of view of queer ideology. We say that the differences between men and women are constructed socially. There are no men and women, there are people with different sets of organs. Talking about destruction of gender-based construct we talk about destruction of power.”

Lavender Threat includes trans-people mainly, as Chernyshev marks. It is united by the principles of constructivism, anarcha-feminism and queer theory.

Read also: Patriots, citizens, lovers…

“Each person has something that puts their gender in question. It is practically impossible to draw the line between a man and a woman. It is clearly seen through the example of trans-people. You see me above the waist – you tell that I am a man. You see my genitals – you tell that I am a woman. And when you see whole of me – you don’t know who I am and I am a person for you,” concludes Fritz.

Автор: Kolya Camouflage

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.