By Leo Tsao, Designer
As we continue to dismantle the bullshit that is the gender binary, sexuality and gender are naturally being increasingly identified on a spectrum. Although this dismantling process has allowed people to be more and more comfortable with expressing themselves and their identity, it has also been met with huge backlash (such as the introduction of transphobic bans, and increasing transphobic violence).
Against this dark backdrop, I wanted to celebrate the spectrum for this very queer issue of Tharunka, and all the the vibrant, colourful, diverse and beautiful people in the queer community who exist in all parts of these spectrums.
But where’s the glitter, drag queens, dildos, unicorns, leather, cunts, dicks??? This is the QUEER ISSUE!!! Artist Gordon Hall coins these common tropes, so often associated with queer art, as “the glitter problem”. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with this form of expression, like many other stereotypes, it poses dangers and limitations. If we primarily associate queer art with glitter and other archetypes, we run the risk of trivialising queer people and their experiences. We run the risk of silencing other forms of queer artistic expression. We run the risk of pigeonholing ourselves.
At the root of transphobia and homophobia is the idea of perceiving a person’s body to be indisputably something, imposing a set of rules. To move past this, we have to relearn how to perceive the relationship between the body and gender.
Hall, among other contemporary queer artists, utilises non-representational and abstract methods to focus on relearning how to see. What can non-representational sculpture and objects teach us about reading people, and how we perceive gender and body? The ambiguous sculptural forms depicted on this cover is a cheeky homage to this idea.
I take great joy frolicking on this colourful spectrum with all of my beautiful, queer friends. Let’s continue to shatter the dangerously monotonous heteronormative world of the cishets.