Talk: Between estrogenes, glitter nails and toxic masculinity
Live: Tropical Vampire (Dark Synth Pop, SWE)
+ Ai Fen (Witchwave, CZ)
Between estrogenes, glitter nails and toxic masculinity
Trans* people in society – between the rise of the alt-right, widespread anti-feminism and toxic masculinity the space grows small for gender-nonconforming individuals. Hostility against trans* people, especially trans* people of colour, is on the rise with increasing numbers in hate crimes whilst ideas like the European Union and international cooperation have come under serious threat.
Again, the gender binary seems to be an untouchable construct even though trans* and queer perspectives and ideas questioning the heteronormative cisgender nuclear family gain more and more mainstream media spotlight in recent years – prompting both very dangerous and very positive outcomes. So, how can the gender binary be challenged? What can we learn from the anti-feminist backlash against the #MeToo-campaign and the overarching negative response by mostly men to the recent Gillette ads challenging toxic masculinity and r*p* culture?
As a trans*woman that spent a good part of her life identifying as a cis-man, engaging in both men’s soccer teams and all-male punk rock bands before finally coming out at age 20 and eventually getting into queerfeminist activism I was able to really gain very broad insight on privilege and gender norm expectations in the most different of surroundings. Speaking about my experiences to different audiences in different venues each night, I try to create a safer space that is primarily for marginalized people such as queer people, women*, people of colour, (dis)abled or neurodiverse people. Together with you, I’d like to open a space that we can discuss, empower, critizise and grow in together, both sharing experiences and learning about privileges.
My events are open to all genders, but I ask (especially white) cisgender men to take a step back for the night and give space to the less privileged. Throughout my talk we’ll walk through my personal evolution and find out about my steps to coming out finally and eventually growing into the trans* woman that I am today. Sharing experiences of surroundings such as the punk rock scene, the BDSM and fetish scene, feminist activist groups but also men’s sports teams, I’d like to explore different facets of gender identity and gender expression but also the hurdles in navigating society as a transgender woman together with you.
From the limitation in access to transgender health care and estrogenes to sexuality, relationships, gender dysphoria, self-hate, the longing for femininity and the vital importance of sisterhood and solidarity – there’s much to discuss and see.
Maja operates an international tour booking agency called “Queers to the front Booking”, engages in different queerfeminist activist groups and puts on DIY punk shows in Germany. She identifies as a trans* woman and uses the pronouns “she” and “her”.
Tropical Vampire is the darkwave inspired project of Swedish based producer Anna Helmersson. Through manipulated samples, synthesizers, midi controllers and digital processers, the listener is drawn into an eerie landscape consisting of abysmal echoes bouncing to catchy beats and melancholic vocals. Existing sonically between the boundary of convention and experiment, where themes of isolation, detachment and fragility are often explored. Portraits of distilled realities where the human condition is confronted.
Ai fen is the new solo venture of Polish/Chinese musician and producer Ewelina Vlcek-Chiu, also known as one half of the witchwave duo ba:zel (with Daniel Vlcek). Ai fen comes out of solitude and deep, terrifying self-reflection. The composition is more experimental than the artist’s first project, particularly regarding the voice which vacillates between extreme poles of expression. Ai fen comes out of solitude and deep, terrifying self-reflection.
The production is entirely done by Ai fen and features heavy use of processed vocal samples, minimal synths and the soprano flute, played with classical melodies or employed to create textures and drones. Ai-fen is the artist’s Chinese name, given to her at birth as a counterpart to her first Polish name. In this way Ai fen is a nod towards an Other-ed Self, always present but hidden from view, an exploration of identity as a biracial, multinational woman growing up millennial.