Eyes opened: A series of ceramic works dedicated to Trans-gender Families



Jon Curnoe Ceramics Art + Perception 106 2017 Yarrobil Home

From the start - birth, society, with its culturally stereotypical views, will assign a gender; in this case male. We can tell he's male because he's dressed in blue and straight, right? So he must be. We cannot see or feel the inner presence, so his soul must be male too. All is good, society is in balance; everyone is conforming.

Gender branding based on physical appearance is not always correct and for many, it is completely wrong. Even in his early years he may have a sense of confusion regarding society’s expectations. Sometimes those closest to him can sense this. He will constantly fear that society will disapprove of his feelings. The deepest emotional scars are carved into him if he thinks his friends and family also disapprove. This burdening pressure will start to affect his physical presence and cracks appear as small bits of pink are courageously revealed in his search for his identity.

Gender branding based on physical appearance is not always correct and for many, it is completely wrong.

This enormous pressure placed on him by society to conform will force him to appear to remain blue on the outside, but the inside is not; he's pink. The unrelenting and exhausting internal struggle leads to emotional issues including depression, anxiety, self-harming, isolation, paranoia, suicide, delusions, anorexia. The list just goes on causing greater and greater physical effect; and the cracks widen as things deform.

Too many times, there are complete breakdowns leading to inconsolable dysfunction. Amid complex inner-thoughts and the pressure to appear normal, a degree of internal damage is sustained - impossible for experts, friends and family to predict. All we can do is support him. Even when that support is pushed away. It's difficult. You want her to take her own, first steps again. Always ready in case she falls, as we did before. We work to maintain a path for her to take those first, unsteady steps - and in some cases, help build alternative ones.

It feels as if the paths have a lot of steps and not all take her forward; but every step is a good step. The cracks are repaired as she places one foot in front of the other and starts to change her physical shape. It's puberty again and we all buckle up for another ride on a giant emotional roller coaster. Each time she passes the ticket booth, we're there for her, whether we're wanted or not. We find different ways to show our support, knowing that when she decides to step off, she will be physically and emotional drained. She will need us, and we will want her. Always.

Then comes the bravest and hardest step. Easier paths could be taken by not following what she feels in her heart, in an attempt to appease society. But this is not the right path. If she chooses the easy path, in the physical world, on the surface, things will appear great. As with my pots, without inner peace, cracks will appear and possibly destroy her.

Our current culture of hate against anyone or anything that is different must change. This, of course, includes many other prejudices, not only transgender.

This is a journey which might never end - largely due to us, as a society, for lacking acceptance or respect. It's also partially due to having no pre-defined path to follow. We should stop putting up fences, or in many cases, fucking big walls along the path.

Our current culture of hate against anyone or anything that is different must change. This, of course, includes many other prejudices, not only transgender.


Endnotes

This article is written out of respect for my daughter. The views expressed here are not hers and although influenced by her story, this is not her story. Also, this is not the journey of all transgender people; each person is an individual and I respect that.

by Jon Curnoe

Jon Curnoe is a ceramic artist from Sydney, who first operating his own studio 42 years ago, at the age of 13. Ceramics has always been an on-off affair. Anyone in ceramics who knows Jon would find this hard to believe, as his passion is so strong it’s overpowering. He enjoys using many techniques, always taking himself and the materials to the limits. This series of work was developed whilst Curnoe was artist-in-residence in Singapore, when isolated from his family. https://www.facebook.com/JonCurnoe/


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