Leslie Feinberg (1949-2014) was a renowned trans activist, historian, writer and the author of the groundbreaking gender- nonconforming 1993 novel ‘Stone Butch Blues.’ Feinberg made this photographic series between summer 2009 and winter 2011, when ze (ze and hir were Feinberg’s preferred pronouns) relocated to Syracuse, New York, to live with hir spouse, Minnie Bruce Pratt, due to Feinberg’s failing health resulting from long term Lyme+ disease.
Hir long-standing illness from Lyme+ disease was intensifying, complicated by anti-trans prejudice embedded in for-profit health care. Hir ability to complete writing projects was impaired and hir ability to visualize waned.
As ze says in the series artist’s statement, ze began taking photographs with a little silver point-and-shoot Canon to make “a kind of geographic and emotional GPS of where I was and how I got here.” Ze added: “These photographs are the unexpected form and shape of my memory cabinet. They also reveal the geographic and social isolation of severe illness and resulting disabilities. This body of work reveals my inner struggle for articulation at a time when illness and disability–and discrimination and prejudice–were silencing my voice.”
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