Beyond Representation: Trans Embodied Methodologies

Trans methods provide a way to rework the cultural belief in the inaccurate and limiting false logic that seeing can be equated with knowing, providing a new means of apprehending identity and visuality. Trans embodiments and methodologies offer new modes of being, doing, and thinking that defy cultural ideologies that suture reality to the privileging of sight. Jay Prosser, an early proponent of trans studies, began to explore how trans methods move beyond the inaccurate belief in seeing being equivalent to knowing by emphasizing embodiment. Prosser noted that trans methods are deeply informed by trans embodiments, and trans lives are not based on moving away from one type of body into another (as the binary and linear trans narrative established by the medical and psychiatric industries contends); rather, trans people move further into embodiment.[1] To discuss how trans methodologies provide new models of understanding identity, representation, and visuality, this essay will take Prosser’s observation as a point of departure in discussing the work of performance artist Travis Alabanza, weaving together a conversation about how trans embodiments provide a new method for understanding identity, representation and visuality.


Beyond Representation


Rejecting the idea that identity is something that others assign to us based on ascribing meaning via a subjective and ideologically saturated interpretation of morphology, phenotype, fashion, and other visual components, trans people defy the culturally constructed and faulty logic that identities (and the values that come with them) can be discerned based on visual assessment. This rejection is made in favor of valuing embodied feeling as the preeminent form of self-knowledge and self-articulation

In their critically acclaimed theatre piece Burgerz, Travis Alabanza explores how in being a Black-British, non-binary, trans femme, their very embodiment is at odds with the dominant worldview. This reality is simultaneously dangerous and also potentially liberatory. Like much of Alabanza’s oeuvre, Burgerz explores this tension and models new understandings of identity, representation, embodiment, and visuality.[2] In one vignette, Alabanza asks if there is anyone in the audience that is willing to help them. Wait – not just anyone—the person must according to Alabanza self-identify as a “white cisgender man.” After going through a satirical and very entertaining monolog about how ridiculous it is to need the help of a white cisgender man and the hilarity that one cannot be found when one needs them, Alabanza at last selects one of the only three men that volunteered themselves to come up on stage and asks him to tape two hamburger buns to Alabanza’s chest on the outside of their jumper, placed strategically where they think breasts would be if Alabanza had them. Amidst the periodic SHHHHHKKKT! sound of the pulling of the hot pink duct tape and the physical awkwardness of one person attempting to tape buns on another person’s chicly dressed torso, Alabanza discusses the pressures they feel to modify their appearance to conform with binary gender norms. They note such an adjustment would require them to engage in hormone therapies that would facilitate their development of breasts. “I’m not sure if I need to have them for something as boring as safety,”[3] Alabanza remarks, noting that they continue to resist the pressure but feel it, nonetheless. Breasts are a corporeal aesthetic conflated in the US and the UK with ideas of femininity and womanhood.[4] Breasts would, in some way, allow Alabanza less obstructed access to the realm of femineity, and potentially add protect from those would-be aggressors bent on regulating the binary gender regime, as it would shift their corporeal aesthetics to be more compliant with dominant visual aesthetics of binary gender.

The absurdity, tension, vulnerability, pain, and humor packed into the scene transmits the complex feelings and the pressures on trans people to comply with aesthetics of dominant cultural gender norms. A pressure that is felt through the very flesh of our bodies. It must be stated that these pressures impact all of us (trans, cis or beyond), but some feel and embody these pressures to greater degrees and make them more visible. Alabanza inviting a cis Caucasian man to duct tape hamburger buns onto them as mock breasts is an act that underscores the discomfort and ridiculousness of the pressures exerted on trans people to conform to binary gender aesthetic norms. The scene brilliantly juxtaposes the pressure Alabanza feels with the relative lack of pressure to self-contort exerted on the bodies of cis Caucasian men. Additionally, the scene invites us to consider why one might assume that Alabanza’s flat chest (and any other bodily attributes) would bar them from femininity (or any identity category), Alabanza’s performance puts trans embodiment center stage, asking: why do the questions that trans embodied practices raise not extend more broadly? Why might one view the aesthetics of a cis Caucasian man to be unquestionably male? Or how, for example, does Alabanza’s collaborator know that he is a man? Alabanza asks him later, and he is strained to come up with a definitive answer. In their performance Alabanza asserts that their feeling of embodiment enables them to be whomever they are, regardless of what viewers and audiences might want to assume about their identification based upon their corporeal aesthetics.


Tensions Between Embodied and Visualized


Alabanza’s perspective on trans embodied methodologies is particularly salient, for their work often centers on their experiences and explores what it means to be a Black British, gender nonconforming, femme-presenting person and artist. Alabanza notes:

I find the question of embodiment difficult. When I was at my most embodied publicly, I lost the power that comes with embodiment. I was young when I had a truly embodied self and practice…. I was starting to document myself in this embodied state; I was growing a beard, wearing a dress, wearing big lipstick, and going down the street in heels. My first project documented that experience, but not with regard to how other people responded to me; it was just documenting that I was walking down the street. Then something happened: others wanted to lift up this embodiment. They were like, “Here’s this transfeminine person,” and people put all these labels on me and lifted my work up, and then it became dangerous. Making that work with my particular embodiment led to all of my details being leaked, having to change addresses multiple times, and being stalked online. For me, my embodiment in my practice went straight to danger, because I was embodied without any structural support.[5]

In making visual an existence that is beyond the sanctioned parameters of binary and essentialized identity categories, Alabanza’s very embodied existence makes apparent that the reductive categories of racialized binary gender cannot contain us. These categories are reductive fictions, not realities. For this system of categories to be maintained, those who make plain that these categories cannot contain us must be punished. This is evidenced by the disproportionate numbers of violent hate crimes and murders perpetrated against trans femmes of color have been well documented. However, not much has changed to stop the racist, transphobic acts in legislation, judicial initiatives, or support. In fact, in many cases, things seem to be going in an increasingly horrifying direction.[6] Alabanza is no strange to acts of hostility and violence directed at them based on their visual disruption of dominant identity regimes.

Burgerz got its name and impetus from one of the more bizarre aggressions directed at Alabanza. It was an event that was so absurd that it stuck with them and prompted the theatre piece. On a very busy Waterloo Bridge in London during rush hour, Alabanza was accosted on the shoulder, just below their cheek, by an airborne burger that was hurled at them by someone in a passing car while yelling the word “Tranny!” The absurdity of the assault coupled with the fact that by their estimation over a hundred people saw and no one did anything, or rather that over a hundred people were willful accomplices in the act of aggression by silently sanctioning it, prompted Alabanza to create Burgerz. As Alabanza puts it, “What happens when you’re trans and harassed is that often no one outside is having your back. You’re kind of seen as deserving of the violence you experience because you’re gender non-conforming. People go ‘look at that freak over there.’”[7] But there is something more sinister and more deeply tied to visual culture that is at play. As gender nonconforming writer and activist ALOK argues:

Gender diversity is an integral part of our existence. It always has been, and it always will be…. The best way to eliminate a group of people is to demonize them. Such that their disappearance is seen as an act of justice, not discrimination…. [T]he issue is not that we are failing to be men or women. It’s that the criteria used to evaluate us, to begin with, is the problem.[8]

Gender criteria is often tied to visual assessment of various aesthetics, corporeality, physical attributes, fashion and overall look. Identities that appear outside of and beyond the essentialized, reductive binary gender system have always existed. Yet, for the dominant regime to persist, they must be kept frenetically out of view, or when they do appear, they must be coopted in such a way as to reinforce dominant cultural ideologies.[9]  Increasingly in the recent past, representations of trans folks have begun to appear in visual culture, however when this occurs such representations are often coopted by dominant culture in the service of reinforcing binary gender and racialized norms. The occlusion, erasure, and stereotyping of gender nonconforming people is done in order to further a transphobic project of white supremacy, often hand in hand with the culturally fabricated false logic that visual apprehension is synonymous with obtaining objective information.[10]  


The Regime of Visuality, a Reductive Colonialist Ideology


In locations ideologically descended from the colonial project, it is via the regime of visuality that certain people are assigned the category of “human.” Corporealities that do not visually replicate dominant culture’s aesthetic norms are ascribed values of “less than human” and “non-human,” marked as not deserving of human treatment or not even deserving of life itself.[11] The assigning of value to people based on visual assessment relies on the aesthetic interpretation of visual morphology through dominant cultural lenses, which in locations descended from the colonial project include white supremacist binary gender as the prevailing order. As Nicholas Mirzoeff has noted, “Seeing the world is not about how we see but about what we make of what we see,”[12] while C. Riley Snorton has observed “Western” cultures share a belief system in which “reality is sutured to the privileging of sight.”[13] The belief that visual apprehension is synonymous with objective absorption of knowledge is culturally specific and particularly prevalent in cultures descended from the colonial project where “[s]eeing takes on the magnitude of knowing.”[14] While the particulars of discursive ontological framings have continually shifted over time, the governing logic in the so-called “West” remains committed to the legacy of equating looking with the acquisition of information. In fact, the process of looking is inherently ideologically informed—we bring what we already believe to the act of looking.[15] The conceptual flattening of image, subject, and ideas about them in locations ideologically descended the colonial project is deeply troubling when considering how this false logic is used in the service of domination, disenfranchisement, and violence. This cultural construction, which I refer to as “the regime of visuality,” is the false equating of visual assessment with the acquisition of what is framed inaccurately as objective knowledge, fostered in colonialist locations in the service of the development of stereotypes and the objective of oppression.[16]

The way we have been instructed to understand visuality in the so-called “West” (or North America and Western Europe) is descended from the colonial project and bound up with belief systems that use this discursive framework to further and maintain colonialist agendas. The so-called “West” then may be more accurately described as locations whose dominant ideologies are descended from the colonial project. In these locations the false cultural conflation of visual apprehension and the acquisition of knowledge becomes particularly dangerous.[17] Judith Butler has theorized gender as a matrix of intelligibility where those who exist outside of the matrix of gender are viewed as unworthy of life.[18] Butler observes that gender is highly governed by visuality, and there is a point at which certain gendered subjects fail to fit into culturally sanctioned gender roles.’[19] When people embody genders that appear aesthetically incongruent with essentialized binary gender paradigms, their visual disruption of the dominant world order puts them in danger. Especially when corporealities are also racialized in ways that make their lives more in peril. Recall for a moment the act of aggression that served as the impetus for Burgerz. One might also recall any of the many violent acts perpetrated against trans femmes of color.[20]

The interconnection between the visual regime of binary gender and its imbrication with racism can be clearly observed when one looks even briefly at the history of the establishment of Western modernity via colonialism. For example, the establishment of the binary gender system was contingent on viewing the aesthetics of gender in other cultures as not only inferior, but often also as a threat. So called “Western modernity” was only possible due to the heinous “super-exploitation” of the African labor force, which was achieved in part through visual racist classification, coupled with the establishment of heterosexuality as the pinnacle and domain of the “white elite.”[21] On Turtle Island, colonization of the original inhabitants was largely achieved through racist ideologies deployed to classify people into hierarchies, based on a visual assessment of embodied aesthetics.[22] Chinese immigrant men were constructed via the logic of colonialism as “feminine,” which created stereotypes that collapsed ideas about this vast and porous constituency into a stereotype and a threat to gender, economy, and Caucasian women laborers.[23] In mentioning these complex and highly troubling examples so briefly, I do not mean to diminish their horror. What I do aim to do here is to underscore the way that the visual regime was used in service of achieving immense atrocity and that fact that binary gender is part and parcel of the racist colonial project.

Building on the racist and visually-based logic of colonial binary gender, police in the US infamously adopted the three-article “law,” which allowed them to arrest anyone wearing less than three articles of clothing appropriate to the gender they visually appeared to match. This emboldened police to harass and arrest anyone who visually disrupted the white supremacist, binary gender paradigm (i.e., if a police officer assigned the category of “male” to someone they saw and assigned the category of “female” to that person’s clothing, or vice versa, they would arrest them). Such laws were used to terrorize trans people and forced the continued aesthetic assimilation of members of cultures whose fashion did not conform to the binary gender paradigm in the United States at the time. These practices helped to produce and maintain gender norms prevalent today.[24] The racist policing of gender and the oppression of various constituencies were part and parcel of the regime of visuality. This regime of the colonial project invests in the ideologically-constructed belief that seeing equates with knowing in order to uphold white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, transphobia, and transmisogyny via a very real policing of folks based on an inaccurate belief that via seeing one can discern and ascribe the identity and value of others.[25]


Trans Embodied Methodologies and Decolonizing the Regime of Visuality


As defined today in the North American and western European context, trans is generally understood as someone identifying differently than the gender they were assigned at birth. I would like to add to this definition of a rejection of the gender assigned (or assumed) at birth by incorporating the gender a person is raised as, since there are plenty of instances in which people are assigned a sex/gender conflation at birth but may be intersex and raised as another gender, as well as various other complex iterations of gender rearing that do not fall neatly into the reductive description of the “gender assigned at birth.” It is from these early moments in birth and childhood of attributing gender identity to embodied aesthetics, or sometimes just genitalia, that the regime of visuality begins to exert tyranny on our lives.

This tradition of assigning a gender to a newborn, based on visual apprehension of genitals, is yet another essentialized collapsing of aesthetic and identity, or assigning of value to physiological attributes. Thus, it is reflective of a deeply entrenched and problematic cultural practice of equating seeing to knowing. It occludes the subjective interpretation and articulation of value during the act of looking. To be clear, there is no necessary correlation between someone’s genitalia and their gender identity. Nor any aspect of their sexual identity. Nor any aspect of their identity, period.

To assume that physiological aesthetic has any necessary correlation to any aspect of one’s identity is to believe in a highly fraught essentialism. This essentialism, upheld since colonization, is a visual regime that sets Caucasian masculinity as human and everyone else as less so, by visually discernable degrees. If this recalls pseudo sciences of physiognomy and phrenology, that should come as no surprise—it is based on the same faulty logic designed to uphold the same power-controlling minority.

Taking the embodied experience of self-articulation that is at odds with the regime of visuality, trans methods favor the haptic over the ocular, modeling methodological innovations that move away from colonialist and essentializing logics rooted in visual apprehension. This is a move that makes the proliferation of stereotypes as means of domination and control much less possible. Thus, trans methods are crucial for a critical dismantling of outmoded ways of conceiving bodies, embodiment, and visual culture. As Marquis Bay has written, The dominant logic of identity, one that assumes ‘race’ and ‘gender’ are fixed and knowable, needs not only troubling but interrogative obliteration.”[26] When Alabanza invites a stranger to tape burger buns to them to play with the embodiment of breasts, they open up a space in which one can tease apart and contemplate an assumed collapsing of these characteristics. And one can do so critically and humorously. Trans embodiment not only rejects the “truth of the visible,” but models ways of living that make plain the fluidity and unfixed nature of identity categories, and provides methodologies for new ways of thinking about identity and visuality as in complex dialectical relationship with meaning, and identification.[27] Alabanza invites viewers to ask how and why do embodied aesthetics have cultural meanings attached to them, and how might we play with these connections without taking them as truth, objective and unwavering?

In proclaiming one’s transness, one announces that one’s identity is at odds with what others might have ascribed by interpretation of one’s corporeal aesthetics. Thus, this proclamation of self is also a rejection of the entrenched colonialist and visual-centric logics, ideologies that maintain that meaning/truth/knowledge can be accurately ascribed to someone via visual apprehension of one’s corporeality. Or as C. Riley Snorton has argued, trans identities create a disruption of notions of the “truth” of bodies.[28] In articulating oneself as trans, whether intending to or not, one rejects an identity that has been ascribed by someone else based on physical attributes that have been interpreted and assigned meaning via visual interpretation. This is a direct affront to the logic of the regime of visuality. Trans methods, coming from trans embodied experiences, move beyond binary structures, de-essentializing how we think about representation and identity and encouraging continually malleable, self-reflexive methods.

In a recent conversation, Alabanza defined embodiment as “when I do what I want to do that makes me feel good, and it connects all the dots, and I don’t care so much about the outside. I make choices that feel good and radiate.”[29] This concept of embodiment relies entirely on an internal feeling that is invested in aligning oneself and transmits this connectedness outward. It is a reflection of a trans embodied reality that is not concerned with representation, visual performance, or the interpretation of one’s physical or performative aesthetics by any outside observer. Trans embodiment in this sense is about a haptic understanding that places value on internal feelings.

Embodied experience, as self-identification and self-articulation, shifts the discourse around how identities are understood and what types of understandings about identity are of value. As Jack Halberstam writes, “Hapticity organizes meaning, knowing, and seeing in ways that exceed rational sense-making enterprises and instead force the viewer to examine their own relations to truth and authenticity.”[30] If we consider rational sense-making in the so-called “Western” context or cultures ideologically descended from the colonial project, as intwined with visuality, then a haptic or embodied understanding of self is one that defies the visual regime. Turning away from the belief that one can ascribe meaning and value to bodies based on visual assessment, trans embodied ways of living and thinking invest in self-articulation, starting from internal knowledge about ourselves and expressing that knowledge outward into the world. Prioritizing inward self-knowledge reworks how we understand identity and its relation to visuality.


Concluding Thoughts


Reflecting on WJT Mitchell’s provocation that “there are no visual media,” Nicholas Mirzoeff proposes that all perception involves embodiment. This embodiment is coupled with intricate processes that take place within the brain, underscoring that knowledge is not only embodied but involves complex, ideologically-informed processes of perception that rely on one’s own belief system.[31] Mirzoeff centers the importance of critical self-reflection and experiential meaning-making when engaging in any type of analysis, particularly visual analysis. This emphasis on experience and reflection helps make clear the interventions that trans embodied methodologies propose: de-colonizing thinking can be achieved by honoring a praxis that is self-reflexive and highly situational. Trans embodied methodologies answers Mirzoeff’s provocation for a means of analysis that is embodied perception. Trans methods place emphasis on embodied feeling as means of understanding self and world. Trans embodied methodologies also emphasize that all experiences are transient, temporal, and spatially situated.



[1] Jay Prosser, Second Skins: The Body Narratives of Transsexuality, Gender and Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998).

[2] I attended Burgerz on 4.16.2022 in Boston at the Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebert Black Box Theatre. The show ran from 4.12-24, 2022.

[3] Travis Alabanza, Burgerz, April 16, 2022

[4] I mention the U.S. and the U.K. specifically, as Alabanza is a London-based artist and the performance I write about took place in Boston, MA, US.

[5] Ace Lehner, “Critical Questions and Embodied Reflections: Trans Visual Culture Today—A Roundtable,” Art Journal 80, no. 4 (October 2, 2021): 38–52,, 45.

[6] For information on trans hate crimes and actions in response see the following web resources:,,,

[7] Yas Necati, “Travis Alabanza discusses How Transgender People are Received in Public,” Indy 100, September 6, 2018,  I have explored the concept of the trans “freak” elsewhere. See: Ace Lehner, “Trans Self-Imaging Praxis, Decolonizing Photography, and the Work of Alok Vaid-Menon,” Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal, 2 (2019),, retrieved from

[8] Alok Vaid-Menon, Beyond the Gender Binary, Pocket Change Collective (New York: Penguin Workshop, 2020), 5-6.

[9] The binary gender system currently dominating cultural ideologies in locations descended from the colonial project is relatively new. Conceptions of gender are inherently flexible and culturally, temporally, and sub culturally specific. For more on discussions of trans identities as complex and existing throughout history and around the globe, see: Ardel Haefele-Thomas, Introduction to Transgender Studies (New York: Harrington Park Press, 2019) and Susan Stryker, Transgender History, Seal Studies (Berkeley, CA: Seal Press: Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2008).

[10] I have written about trans stereotypes, erasures and representation elsewhere; see: Ace Lehner, “Trans Self-Imaging Praxis, Decolonizing Photography, and the Work of Alok Vaid-Menon,” Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal 2, no. 1 (November 11, 2019),, Ace Lehner, Self-Representation in an Expanded Field From Self-Portraiture to Selfie, Contemporary Art in the Social Media Age., 2021,, Ace Lehner, “Trans Failure,” Cultural Politics 18, no. 1 (March 1, 2022): 95–115, and Ace Lehner “Proliferating Identity: Trans Selfies as Contemporary Art,” in Derek Conrad Murray, ed., Visual Culture Approaches to the Selfie, Routledge History of Photography (New York, NY: Routledge, 2022), 60-89.

[11] Here I am thinking particularly of the work of Alexander G. Weheliye’s work on racialization and Judith Butler’s scholarship interrogating gender. See: Alexander G. Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014). Also see: Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex,” Routledge Classics (Abingdon: Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2011). Also see Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (New York and London: Routledge, 2004).

[12] Nicholas Mirzoeff, How to See the World, A Pelican Introduction 8 (London: Pelican, 2015, 73.

[13] C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 140.

[14] Amelia Jones, Self/Image: technology, representation, and the contemporary subject citing the work of Suren Lalvani and the discussion of “ocular epistemology.” See footnote 9 on page 25.

[15] See Stuart Hall, David Morley, and Stuart Hall, Essential Essays, Stuart Hall, Selected Writings (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018). Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, 2nd ed (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

[16] For more on a nuanced understanding of stereotypes see: Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London ; New York: Routledge, 1994).

[17] For more nuanced discussion of such ideas I suggest consulting Mieke Bal, “Visual Essentialism and the Object of Visual Culture.” J. Vis. Cult, 2003, 2: 5–32.

[18] Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex,” Routledge Classics (Abingdon: Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2011). Also see Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (New York and London: Routledge, 2004). Trans studies scholars including Susan Stryker, J. Halberstam, micha cárdenas, and others have taken up the study of gender as a regulating apparatus as well.

[19] Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (New York: Routledge, 2004), 69. This experience of freakishness can also be understood as dysphoria—and it may come in front of the mirror, or it may come in daily life. See: The Transgender Studies Reader for more information on experiences and theorization around dysphoria as a pathologizing discourse. See: Stryker S and Aizura AZ (eds) The Transgender Studies Reader 2. (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 18-19, 263, 275, 500, 515-16, 645 and 647.

[20] See Footnote 6.

[21] Greg Thomas, The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power: Pan-African Embodiment and Erotic Schemes of Empire (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007). 9-10, 23.

[22] Not only should women be less hairy than men, but hairier people were often believed to be “racially inferior” and more likely to be “insane.” Rebecca M. Herzig, Plucked: A History of Hair Removal (New York and London: New York University Press, 2016). See Introduction.

[23] Clare Sears, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco, Perverse Modernities (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015). See chapter 6.

[24] Clare Sears, Arresting Dress. See chapter 6. Also see J. Halberstam, trans introduction. Recent scholarship by folks including Kate Redburn and Christopher Adam Mitchell has suggested that this language has been applied retroactively and that at the time, police relied on vague laws that they borrowed from military code and procedural manuals. For more on racist history of binary gender see: Nancy Ordover, American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). It is also important to note that once arrested trans people were often publicly outed which in term frequently lead to loss of job, and family and lead to continued harassment.

[25] For more on transmisogyny see: Julia Serano, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Berkeley, California: Seal Press, 2013). Also see Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, Second edition (Berkeley: Seal Press, 2016). For more on the complex relationship between looking and ideology, see Nicholas Mirzoeff, How to See the World, A Pelican Introduction 8 (London: Pelican, 2015), 90-91.

[26] Marquis Bey, Black Trans Feminism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2022), 95.

[27] C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 2. C. Riley Snorton has observed about trans as both “method and life.” For more on the relationship between trans identities, racialization, and visual culture see Ace Lehner, “Self-Image as Intervention: Travis Alabanza and the New Ontology of Portrait Photography,” in

Ace Lehner, Self-Representation in an Expanded Field: From Self-Portraiture to Selfie, Contemporary Art in the Social Media Age, 2021, Also see: Eric A. Tourmaline, Stanley and Johanna Burton, eds., Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2017). Also see Marquis Bey, Black Trans Feminism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2022). C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), Jian Neo Chen, Trans Exploits: Trans of Color Cultures and Technologies in Movement, Anima: Critical Race Studies Otherwise (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019), micha cárdenas, Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media, Asterisk (Durham: Duke University Press, 2022), Marcia Ochoa, Queen for a Day: Transformist’s, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela, Perverse Modernities / a Series Edited by Judith Halberstam and Lisa Lowe (Durham; London: Duke University Press, 2014) and Alok Vaid-Menon, Beyond the Gender Binary, Pocket Change Collective (New York: Penguin Workshop, 2020).

[28] C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017), 140.

[29] Ace Lehner, “Critical Questions and Embodied Reflections: Trans Visual Culture Today—A Roundtable,” Art Journal 80, no. 4 (October 2, 2021): 38–52.

[30] J. Halberstam, Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (Oakland: University of California Press, 2018), 90.

[31] Nicholas Mirzoeff, How to See the World, A Pelican Introduction 8 (London: Pelican, 2015), 90-91.