Trans Leeway airlines

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Just in from Leeway Foundation:

Inclusion of Trans Artists–In October 2005, Leeway passed a resolution to include all trans artists in all grant programs for 2006 onward. As a historically women’s foundation created to support artists who are underrepresented and under-funded in society because of their gender, Leeway now sees the inclusion of all trans artists (people who identify as transgender, trans-sexual, and genderqueer) as integral to our work. Leeway is at the beginning stages of a long-term trans-inclusion process…

Enough with the trans already.

(image, Nan Goldin”s “Misty and Jimmy Paulette in a Taxi, NYC 1991.” I am unable to discern from Leeway’s jargon if these two would fall in the trans category. I know M and JP are transvestites, but do they identify as transgender, trans-sexual or genderqueer? Would they themselves have to call up Leeway or the William Way Center to sort out their Leeway gender identity?)

In the interest of clarity, I’d like to propose that Leeway instead say “artists who identify as female as well as artists who were born female?” Simple. No jargon. Fewer categories. Clear. And more useful for people who feel their genders defy categorization.

The verbiage is part of a new regime over at Leeway. I’m not so sure the new regime is for the better, even though, when I first heard their new goals for supporting art and social change I thought it was a good thing. In fact, I still think it might be a good thing in terms of local social change.

But the accompanying focus on all the arts as vehicles for social change does mean sizable chunks of Leeway money have been diverted from the visual arts in Philadelphia. Maybe this is like the white guys complaining about affirmative action. Then again, maybe this is really like robbing from Petra to give to Paulette. So excuse Petra for saying, Ouch.

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