Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Morgan M Page, a Canadian transfeminist activist, artist, film director, writer, founder and curator of Trans Women’s Arts Toronto, and recipient multiple awards, including two SF MOTHA awards and the LGBT Youthline’s Outstanding Contribution to Community Empowerment Award. Hello Morgan!
I think for me transfeminism centres the experiences of trans people, particularly trans women. So, issues that affect us, such as access to health care, the criminalization of sex work and HIV non-disclosure, racism, treatment of prisoners, and immigration policy are at the forefront of all discussions.
I’m thinking here of Greer Lankton, in particular, whose work showed in the Whitney Biennial in the mid-90s, shortly before her death. I’m really excited to see more and more trans peoples’ art being shown, and I think a lot of it has to do with the tools for organizing and promotion that we have access to thanks to the Internet.
Now anyone can start a Tumblr account, post their art, and get hundreds of people exposed to their work. I’m really hoping that we can keep pushing that to the next level. I want to see trans people’s art in every major art gallery. I want to see it on TV, and in the cinema. I want trans peoples’ fiction and poetry to line shelves of bookstores.
So I put together a call for submissions and started soliciting submissions from trans women artists. We had about ten artists in the show, including Mirha-Soleil Ross, Kiley May, Isz Janeway, and Morgan Sea. And the event was packed! We almost sold out the venue. I think we were ten tickets short of selling out. It was incredible. I honestly didn’t even think ten people would show up for it!
And now it’s become this ongoing project where I’m traveling around lecturing about trans women’s art and pulling together panels of trans women to talk about their artistic work. I focus primarily on video and performance art, along with some photography and sculpture, but that’s just because that’s the stuff that excites me the most.
So I made a video there and it went on to screen in Asia, as well, along with another video I made called RIGHT BACK THERE. My work is a lot about grief, mourning, trauma. So, you know, light topics! I’ve also started incorporating video projections into my performance art, which is exciting but a lot of work.
|Photo by Tania Anderson.|
And that Laverne Cox’s performance on Orange is the New Black is changing the narratives about trans people on television in a major way. We need to keep going in this direction! We need to demand better representation, and we need to start telling the stories we want told instead of the stories they want to hear.
I thought I couldn’t be an artist because I didn’t see artists who were trans. It wasn’t until, really, I saw Mirha-Soleil Ross’ work that I realized I could do whatever I want. She changed my life.
We still need to push for the decriminalization of sex work and HIV non-disclosure, and for better immigration policies. We need to push for more access to health care, particularly for more surgery assessor sites to be opened. And for breast augmentation to be covered by provincial health care.
Monika: You are involved in many projects advocating the transgender cause, including programs for trans adults, trans youth, and trans sex workers…
I’m working on my first novel right now, which I hope will be out later this year. My novel definitely has some themes that resonate with my own life, but it’s not a memoir by any stretch of the imagination.
Main photo credits to Boy Pussy.