To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults

On view August 23, 2019 to December 7, 2019

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults will feature twenty-two photographic portraits by Jess T. Dugan alongside accompanying interviews of the subjects by Vanessa Fabbre. The exhibition will be displayed on the University of New Mexico campus in the UNMAM’s Raymond Jonson Gallery.  

As an exhibition, To Survive on This Shore is the product of over five years of research and photography by Dugan and Fabbre, who traveled across the United States to document the life stories of older transgender adults. The project is a response to the absence of nuanced representation of older transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in US culture. The subjects of To Survive on This Shore have a wide range of lived experiences across the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, and geographic location. Their narratives span the past ninety years and provide an important historical record of transgender history in the United States, as well as a complex reflection on the struggles and joys of growing older as transgender or gender nonconforming people.  

Jess T. Dugan
Dee Dee Ngozi, 55, Atlanta, GA, 2016
Jess T. Dugan
Aidan, 52, Burien, WA, 2016

Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. For the past decade, she has photographed people within queer and transgender communities, focusing on the complexities of identity, gender, and sexuality. Dugan earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. She regularly exhibits internationally and has work in several museum collections. Dugan received the International Center of Photography’s 2019 Infinity Award for Emerging Photographers. 

Vanessa Fabbre, PhD, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor at the Brown School of Social Work and Affiliate Faculty in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Fabbre’s research explores the conditions under which LGBTQ people age well, and what this means in the context of structural forces such as heteronormativity, heterosexism, and transphobia. Her research has been published in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Social Work, The Gerontologist, the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, and the Journal of Urban Health. 

To Survive on This Shore was recently published as a hardcover book by Kehrer Verlag. The exhibition is arranged by Barrett Barrera Projects, an arts organization based in St. Louis, MO and New York, NY. 

Header image: 
Jess T. Dugan
Caprice, 55, Chicago, IL, 2015