Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transilient project tells non-binary, trans stories
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-10-24

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


As Basil Soper was soaking in the silence of a ten-day meditation retreat a few years ago, he began forming the blueprint for Transilient, a traveling photo and interview-based project of which he is the founder and executive director.

Shortly after Soper—who describes himself as a man of transgender experience, writer, photographer and intersectional activist—returned from the retreat, the anti-trans "bathroom bill" HB2 passed the North Carolina ( his home state ) state legislature. That is the moment he decided to get the ball rolling on Transilient.

This is not Soper's first foray into documenting people's lives. When he was younger, he used journals, disposable cameras and a boom box to record interviews as well as write personal essays and op-eds, all before he went to college at the New School. He graduated with a creative writing degree.

"I was really tired of only seeing trans and non-binary people being represented as folks who led lives of pain and oppression," said Soper. "Transilient is my way of showcasing the many facets of our personalities and day-to-day lived realities. One of the project catalysts stemmed from being interviewed by North Carolina media outlets because I ran the local LGBT advocacy group Just Us For All. They would ask really invasive questions, only focusing on my pain and physical transition. I realized cisgender folks, no matter how good their intentions, do not know enough about us to be writing our narratives."

The Transilient team has interviewed more than 120 people during two tours across the country. Soper said the things that have moved and surprised him the most is the kindness of the people who provide them with housing and others they meet at gas stations along the way.

"I cannot believe how many cisgender people want to help us," said Soper. "We have also encountered the most transphobia in the Southwest, which shocked me. In New Mexico, a family called the cops on us because my assistant last year was wearing a dress. They called us pedophiles and tried to 'protect' the bathrooms at the rest stop."

Until this year, everyone involved with Transilient was doing it for free, including the web designer Cady Holmes, writer/researcher Sierra Debrow and 12 transcribers. Soper wanted to be able to pay everyone, so he applied for and received grants from LUSH cosmetics and Trans Justice Fund.

Recently, two young trans people have joined the team—digital media producer James Heatherly from the Cincinnati area and Soper's assistant Beck Martens, who calls themself an anarchist and is a part of Pansy Collective, an Asheville, North Carolina-based DIY trans/queer artist group.

"I picked Beck and James because they are both from the south and really smart, motivated, kind and open-minded individuals," said Soper. "We interview people from all walks of life, even if they do not align with us spiritually, politically or emotionally. I need to work with people who can accept a trans Republican or cop as much as a radical genderqueer person who organizes for homeless folks."

"I saw Basil's posting for two folks to come on tour so I applied," said Heatherly. "I felt drawn to this project because it aligns with my goals and passion as a filmmaker, photographer and activist; to capture people's stories and give them a platform to speak. I am really excited to be a part of this tour and hope to bring people to the project through compelling designs and capturing real, candid moments with our interviewees and the team."

"James is currently running our healing social campaign, 'Sitting with Ourselves, Sitting with Each Other,' and will do a state by state one while on the road," said Soper. "He will also be updating our social media and filming video for us and the It Gets Better project, who have partnered financially with us for the fall tour."

Heatherly said Soper has taught him many things including campaign planning and organization skills. Spreading love and educating people, especially in this current political climate, is the message Heatherly wants to convey across the board.

"I have been following Transilient and Basil's work for a while," said Martens. "In Malta, I did journalism with queer and transgender folks and wanted to bring those skills back to the states. When I saw the posting, I was stoked, and now I get to bring my critical lens on visibility and creativity to the project. "

"Beck is my right-hand person," said Soper. "They keep me organized and are the contact person for the interviewees and people who provide us housing. Beck is also doing the interview master schedule and will help me 'take over' the It Gets better Project's social media outlets while on the road."

Martens said they have learned that positive change can happen outside traditional organizing structures and can be accomplished in many ways. They also explained that sharing one's pronouns and asking others what theirs are is a great way to level the playing field, as well as be a teachable moment for those who do not know why this question is so important.

Soper and his team will be embarking on a third tour Oct. 8 in Seattle that will end Nov. 19 in Memphis, Tennessee. They will be in Chicago Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

"I want all of our Chicago interviewees to dress up in their Halloween costumes," said Soper.

Soper's plans for the future include expanding Transilient; creating a coffee table book out of the stories he has recorded, donating a large portion of the proceeds to nonprofits he discovered while on the road; and opening a trans and non-binary artist residency home for low-income individuals of all ages in a rural area. He also wants to see more people invest in trans and non-binary led projects and businesses so the community can thrive, not just survive.

See www.wearetransilient.com/ for more information.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

HIV/AIDS program head resigned after violating sexual-harassment policy 2019-07-20 - A report has stated that Eduardo Alvarado—the head of the Illinois Department of Public Health's HIV/AIDS program—resigned in May after it was recommended ...


Gay News

Tips to deal with the extreme heat 2019-07-18 - According to the National Weather Service, heat will build to dangerous levels Thursday through Saturday ( July 18-20 ). Temperatures will reach into ...


Gay News

'TGNC Access to Surgical Services' Sept. 13 2019-07-17 - Howard Brown Health's Center for Education, Research and Advocacy ( ERA ) will host the 2019-2020 gender-affirming learning series "Holistic Care for TGNC ...


Gay News

Planned Parenthood suddenly announces new leadership 2019-07-16 - On July 16, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America ( PPFA ) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund ( PPAF ) boards of ...


Gay News

Bisexual health summit takes place in Chicago 2019-07-11 - More than 100 people gathered July 9 to discuss bisexual health and community building at an event that was Chicago Bisexual Health Task ...


Gay News

House passes Military Non-Discrimination Amendment 2019-07-11 - WASHINGTON July 11, 2019 — By a vote of 242-187, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a non-discrimination amendment to the National ...


Gay News

Illinois trans woman freed from prison 2019-07-10 - Strawberry Hampton—a transgender woman who was transferred to multiple Illinois men's prisons after making abuse allegations against inmates and guards—is now free after ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Lance Bass, trans actor, Miley Cyrus, 'Queer Eye' 2019-07-10 - In California, Lance Bass is a co-owner of Rocco's WeHo—the latest iteration in a small chain of establishments that mixes a traditional sports ...


Gay News

ART Darling Shear on artistic journey, making history 2019-07-07 - Mixed-media artist Darling Shear will become the first transgender artist to receive a grant from the Chicago Dancemakers Forum at the organization's annual ...


Gay News

Civil Rights Groups Urge Supreme Court to Protect LGBTQ Workers 2019-07-03 - WASHINGTON — The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and 57 other civil rights ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.