Today, I’m doing a media roundup that’s all about visibility — defined as “the quality or state of being visible” or “the capability of being readily noticed.” The word can be literal, of course. But in the gender and identity space, seeing is complicated.
As a white cisgender woman, it’s easy to take for granted how willing society is to accept me as an individual. On the other hand, people who experience marginalization tell me that being seen can be beautiful, but also scary — if not downright dangerous.
I’m motivated to do work that helps people see and understand diverse voices in nuanced ways, much like these links, which explore the power and political nature of invisibility:
- “Believe me: Genderqueer and nonbinary survivors on visibility and identity” Bitch Media writer Lexie Bean curated an insightful anthology of letters that trans and nonbinary survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence wrote to their own body parts. Here, Lexie interviews four contributors about what it’s like to come out when their identities and experiences aren’t viewed as “real” or “believable.”
- “Pride celebrates being seen — but what if body dysmorphia makes you want to hide?” I love this Slate essay by John Paul Brammer, which describes his complicated relationship with Pride celebrations, body dysmorphia and being seen. “We celebrate visibility during Pride because we inhabit a world that would render us invisible, and part of that visibility means putting our bodies on display if we choose to,” he writes. “But how do I celebrate visibility when I don’t want to be seen?”
- “Hypervisibility: Transparent’s Hari Nef reflects on being a visible member of a marginalized community” I first saw model-actress Hari Nef on Transparent, Jill Soloway’s arty gender-binary-destroying TV drama. In this personal piece for Lenny Letter, Hari explores the ups and downs of being trans and a public figure. She unpacks several moments of visibility, including one interview during which she’s asked, “How does it feel, as a trans woman, to have seen this incredible moment take root for your community?”
- “Has progress to aid Canada’s LGBTQ homeless youth stalled?” This article by Amy van den Berg sheds light on a problem that’s invisible to many of us — myself included. “On any given night in Toronto, there are 1,000 to 2,000 homeless youth sleeping on streets or in shelters,” she writes. “Across Canada, about 40,000 young people experience homelessness. Among them, approximately 25 to 40 per cent self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer.”
That’s my roundup — what else would you add to the list? Shoot me an email, Facebook message or tweet to tell me what you want to see. I’d also love for you to share this with any groups (digital or IRL) that may find my roundup useful, and would be interested in joining the conversation.