Trans* visual activism research in the Dutch press

Though media in the United States has experienced a surge in coverage of trans issues and celebrities, the Dutch press has been relatively quiet after Maxim Februari’s 2013 tour with his book, De Maakbare Man. Recently though, I contributed to two newspaper articles found here. Screenshot 2015-10-20 16.42.58

I first was asked to interview for a trans and non-binary gender debate piece in the Vonk weekend section of the Volkskrant, a national Dutch newspaper (3 October). From my quote there, I was invited to be interviewed for a profile of my current research, the Vital Art project on trans* visual activism. The profile came out in the regional paper, Leidsch Dagblad, in their Wednesday Science spread dedicated to Leiden area science news (14 October).

Since the project itself deals with media representation and problems of stereotyping I was very glad for the opportunity to try to guide the discussion from trans surgery or spectacle to address pressing social justice issues. I was perhaps partly successful.

However, I was in strong disagreement with how the VONK piece frames transgender people as not real men or women, and its question of should “we” accommodate people who do not self-identify as men or women.  The second interview was a focused discussion of how my research seeks to contribute to social change with regards to stigmatizing attitudes. I think it is the first article in mainstream Dutch press to discuss the importance of trans respectful language in media coverage!

Screenshot 2015-10-20 16.42.58Throughout the experience I definitely had a learning curve, and look forward to more media appearances in order to advance new mindsets about gender variance and combat discrimination.

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