The “A Series Of Questions” Project By L. Weingarten

copyright by L. Weingarten

copyright by L. Weingarten


 (Note: All photographs are copyright by L. Weingarten, used with permission.)



Not being out full time, I have been fortune to not have many personal questions asked, though I have had a few from those I have come out  to. I do know that, as time passes, I am more and more likely to have opportunities where I will be confronted and questioned. Admittedly, this is something I’m not looking forward to, I doubt even taking the time to explain myself to someone is likely to change their thoughts and opinions.

Then again, over the same time period Trans* people will be gaining visibility. It is possible some small about of education will begin to take root and those who seek to be more open minded and accepting will understand some things simply shouldn’t be asked out of common decency, if for no other reason. I’m not holding my breath though…


Copyright L. Weingarten

 copyright by L. Weingarten


What brought this to mind was seeing a photography project by L. Weingarten titled “A Series Of Questions” and can be seen here: Questions.


The project statement reads as follows;

“This ongoing body of work explores the power dynamics inherent in the questions asked of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender-variant people.

Many documentary photographic projects that deal with trans issues exploit the genders of their subjects, pointing to an “otherness” or inappropriately exoticizing their bodies. A Series of Questions seeks instead to make visible the transphobia and gender-baiting that can become part of everyday interactions and lives, forming a fuller picture of the various lived experiences. In so doing, this work contrasts with the dehumanizing approaches that predominate the images made of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and gender-variant people, which often focus solely on their gender or trans status, or use them to further a specific point about social construction and gender.

The subjects hold signs depicting questions that each has had posed to them personally— some by strangers, others by loved ones, friends, or colleagues. Presented on white wooden boards, the questions are turned on the viewer, shifting the dynamics under which they were originally asked, and prompting the viewer to cast a reflective, self-critical eye upon themself, revealing how invasive this frame of reference can be.

As a greater number of subjects and questions are accumulated, a relentless conversation of questioning emerges. Attention is directed not on the backgrounds of the transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or gender-variant subjects, but on the dynamics at work in these conversations. I am interested in uncovering the typology of these questions, discovering what categories of questions emerge as the script of power dynamics and interrogation is flipped.”


 Copyright L. Weingarten

copyright by L. Weingarten

Looking through these photos, I was struck as much by the expressions of the subjects as I was by the questions themselves. I see determination, defiance, and yes, pain. No one can fully understand someones experiences in this life, but as the saying goes; the eyes are the windows to the soul and in these pictures you see why.