set aside

“Nature held me close and seemed to find no fault with me”
-Leslie Feinberg

As queer individuals, we are constantly in search of commonality within the world around us. If we can’t find it in the current moment, or have trouble seeing it in our future, we often look to the past. We peer through history in hopes of excavating the consistency of queerness that should have been celebrated all 200,000 years of human existence. But most queer and trans people know that history can be cruel to our ancestors, if history remembers them at all.

“Set aside” is a photo series about surrender, trans maleness, and holding space for the queer ancestors who came before us, who never got a seat at the table. This is represented in the form of a chair, but also in the form of water. Water is the essence of memory and the arbiter of time. It can cleanse us and clear away the muddiness that clouds our judgments of each other. The presence of the chair is both melancholic and hopeful, activating a sense of longing and a call to community.

These portraits are a celebration of the trans male body as it softens in the presence of nature, water, and rock. The trans experience is varied and multitudinal. I hope to capture one aspect that can add to a larger discussion about what it means to be male, what it means to find equilibrium in the body one has, and how to dream up the future that so many of us want for the queer beings to enjoy long after we are gone.

May they one day set a chair aside for all of us.