Jamaican trans activists feature in Manchester festival

The Trans Vegas festival ends on Tuesday, July 13. Between June 28 and July 13, Jamaican trans activists Kyym Savage and Emani Edwards were featured in “a bold series of show stopping images on billboards and bus stops in over 30 central locations” in Manchester, England. See The Voice for full article and more photos.

Featuring Jamaican trans activists Kyym Savage and Emani Edwards, these striking photographs, brought to Manchester via the annual Trans Vegas festival, have been shot in Kingston Jamaica where Kyym and Emani live and work.

Since August 2018, the pioneering duo, who embody their mantra: “Our presence is our resilience”, have created, and starred in artworks where they pose defiantly in their regular environment, exuding glamour.

Their uncompromising trans identities are highlighted as they are photographed in supermodel mode, for all to see and celebrate. Whether wearing a voluminous red gown while reclining on concrete or swathed in black and gold against an ocean backdrop, these images are devised as activism, to highlight their existence. So far there have been some rewarding responses:

“Locally, so far we’ve had persons encouraging us, being in our corner and telling us that our work speaks volumes” they say. “The biggest motivation is who or what our work represents being so undervalued and marginalised as transgender folk. We are putting other transgender folk into a space where they can become confidant as artists themselves.”

They also emphasise that being seen by the world is key to their freedom, and that of the trans community in Jamaica: “We are more than who they say we are, we are more than sex workers, more than people who are marginalised, more than people who are subjected and targeted towards violence. We are artists, we are contributors, we are advocates, we are doctors, we are lawyers….”

Kate O’Donnell, artistic director of Trans Vegas says: “The work of united trans creative is the heart of this year’s festival and centring trans femmes of colour feels more important than ever. Their work shines a spotlight on serious issues for our community in a vibrant and powerful way. we hope this is just the beginning of working together”.

Look out for Kyym and Emani from June 28-July 13 in Manchester as part of Trans Vegas: https://transcreative.uk/

For full article and photos, see https://www.voice-online.co.uk/entertainment/2021/06/25/jamaican-trans-activists-feature-in-manchester-festival/

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