Hidden Identities and Concealed Dangers: Visual Art, Transgender Health, and Wellbeing

By Emma Rose and Stephen Lonsdale.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: January 8, 2016 $US5.00

DOI: 10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v07i01/1-12

Despite important social changes, shifts in legislation, and advances in theoretical perspectives, particularly in the field of gender studies, real life for the trans person remains problematic. Transition, and changes made to the body in order for the individual to bring it into alignment with the felt gender, exposes the individual to physical and mental dangers over the period of transitioning and through the life course that are little changed by more recent social, legislative and theoretical developments. One of the strengths of art is that it can ground the materiality of the lived experience of trans people into images able to resonate within the public domain, and to impact both academic and non-academic audiences. Art can shift the way in which we see by stimulating the imagination; in this way art reveals the nuances, the issues of our gendered lives. Artworks with power to provoke the viewer from habituated forms of perception effect a visual shock, the mechanism by which the invisible becomes visible and social change becomes possible. In this way art can make a contribution to new thinking, practices, paradigms or policies, and in establishing new audiences.

Keywords: Image, Society, Transgender, Art, Identity

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 7, Issue 1, March, 2016, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: January 8, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 527.137KB)).

Prof. Emma Rose

Professor, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK

Stephen Lonsdale

Lecturer in Sociology and Social work, Sociology Department, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK