©2019 by anastasiowrobel

YOURSELF, HERE: ILLUSTRATIONS ON GENDER

January 25, 2018

Gender expression continues to be at the forefront of my work as I navigate the world in a body that is criminal. The majority of people grow up seeing themselves depicted in stories, books, TV shows, media, etc - without ever having to question their identities, their bodies, or gender expression. For those of us who fall a little or a lot outside of what is considered normal, we face unthinkable obstacles: violence, exclusion, erasure.


In these bodies, we are denied our rights, treated as experiments, freak shows, an encyclopedia of knowledge; we are made to explain ourselves, field questions about our private lives, the private parts of our bodies, whom and how we love. We are made to defend ourselves against friends, employers - sometimes our families. Seeing oneself in reality can be skewed and complicated by people's opinions and expectations - this is rooted in our collective received history. Sometimes being your best self, means that you lose everything else along the way.


Yourself, Here is about creating an unapologetic visual space for all of us to visualize what could be outside of the standard confines of societal expectations. Genitalia is not gender, but so often the argument for or against trans people uses genitalia as a categorical expectation or shortcoming. No one is defined by one specific part of themselves. Especially not trans people, nor people who do not ascribe to gender roles, or those who blend gender roles, yet we continue to lack diversity in our media, we attempt to shield individuals from seeing the variance of people in order to uphold a systemic rigidity that no longer serves us moving forward.


In a self-created space the necessity of "fitting in" is dissolved because there is no standard framework or expectation. My hope is that by creating a foundation of non-expectation, others will feel compelled when seeing pieces of themselves in these images. And, if they do not see themselves, my hope is that they feel compelled to begin building that space, occupying it, and sharing it with other people.


For some of us, the only way we are seen is by creating our own media and then showing our true selves - not bogged down by what we aren’t but uplifted by who we are and where we are going.


Please take time to consider this work, and understand what an immense privilege it is for me to share this with you.


In solidarity

aung.robo