To Survive on This Shore
Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults
A Project by Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre
Representations of older transgender people are nearly absent from our culture and those that do exist are often one-dimensional. For over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States creating To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults. Seeking subjects whose lived experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location, they traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals have a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States. The resulting photographs and interviews provide a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offer a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
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Jess T. Dugan
Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community through photographic portraiture. Dugan holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Associate Professor, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis
Fabbre received her AM and PhD in social work from the University of Chicago. Her work explores the conditions under which gender and sexual minorities age well and what this means in the context of heteronormativity, heterosexism and transphobia.