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Androgynous model sought for London-based project

Practical Androgyny has been contacted by Charlotte, a photographer working with a student from the London College of Fashion on a not-for-profit project that aims to challenge people’s perceptions of gender. If you’re in the London area or able to travel there, and you’re of androgynous appearance, please consider volunteering to model for the photoshoot. No experience required.

Our project explores the way that we perceive positions of political power.  We will be be portraying a fictional presidential figure in a way that challenges people’s assumptions about gender.

We’re looking to explore the way that traditional images of powerful political figures could be subverted to show a future where ‘the president’ appears to be androgynous - or in some way not fitting in with most people’s expectations of binary gender.  We’re looking for someone who could wear the traditional uniform of presidential power (i.e. a smart, dark suit) and present as an extremely attractive individual, without giving the usual cues as to their gender.  We’ll be working with a stylist and a makeup artist to achieve the right look, with our model looking as natural as possible. 

We’re heavily influenced by models like Andrej Pejic and we’d like to envisage a time where people who subvert the gender norm are in public positions outside the fashion world.

We’re going to shoot on Friday 24th or Saturday 25th of this month in South London and unfortunately, we can’t offer payment or travel expenses.  Everyone involved is working on a time-for-images basis, so you’ll get copies of all the final images to use as you see fit.

We very much want to make the best use of the photographs and we are hoping to have them accompany a piece on gender identity for publication and we’d like to offer the whole thing to a magazine as a package on a not-for-profit basis.  You need to be comfortable with this and you’ll be asked to sign a standard model release.

If you’re interested in the project and you think the way you look might fit with our creative vision, please send some recent photos to charlotte<at>lyope<dot>com 

Please reblog and signal boost this request.

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Recommended reading: a life lived in fragments talks about the difference between gender identification and expression, how the conflation of identity and behaviour is harmful, and why androgyny is just one of many valid ways to authentically express a nonbinary gender.

nonbinary:

youarenotyou:

[Trigger warning for cissexism, gender binarism and policing]

when you question how I can be both femme and agender, or tell me that being assigned female at birth and femme just means that I’m a woman, what you’re really saying is that there is a specific way one must perform a non-binary gender identity.

and this has little to do with how the individual feels and relates to their gender, and everything to do with how they are perceived.

THERE IS NO ONE WAY TO BE AGENDER.

if a cis man who is read as male were to wear lipstick, you’d say he was being subversive. he’s going against expectations. he’s “breaking out” of his gender role. but when a trans man is femme, you think that’s different (especially,especially if he isn’t perceived to be male). because your ideas about gender are narrowly defined. cis people are allowed (to an extent) to play with gender and express themselves, while binary trans people are expected to conform to rigid conceptions of male or female. and non-binary people don’t even factor into this equation.

so when you first start to learn about non-binary people, you may think a non-binary gender must fall in between “male” and “female” on some sort of scale. and that if a person is non-binary but perceived to be female, they need to butch it up; while if they are perceived as male, they need to be more effeminate. the overall goal of a non-binary person being: to fall in the middle. you think that’s what it feels like to be non-binary; to be in between. (hint: gender isn’t a scale)

you think because I identify as not having a gender, that somehow I must present in a way that will result in me not being gendered (impossible). you think that my goal should be to confuse people who will try to gender me based on my appearance, by not conforming to expectations for women since I was assigned to be one and am continually assigned female every day.

my femme identity means often meeting others’ expectations of how I will look and act, because I am perceived to be a woman. to you, this means I’m not authentically non-binary. but to me, the way that I present myself is the way that I feel comfortable. it is unrelated to what others expect of me. only when I started to let go of where I fit into the binary gender system did I start to make sense of myself; I don’t fit into it. but in a cissexist culture, the gender I am assigned every day is defined by how I exist in relation to that system. in other words: what looks “androgynous” is defined by the binary gender system. 

my goal when I get dressed every day as an agender person is not to avoid being gendered when I am out in the world. the validity of my gender identity does not rest upon the ability of others to correctly assign my gender. my gender expression does not determine my gender identity.

there is more than one way to challenge the oppressive gender dichotomy. if the way I describe my gender confuses you, then how can you tell me i’m not subverting anything?

Very well said!

I have observed a tendency in some circles to conflate androgynous appearance with nonbinary identity or to imply that those who are androgynous (or who take or once took hormones, or who have transgender surgery, or who use gender neutral pronouns) are ‘more successfully’ nonbinary than those who express their nonbinary gender in other ways.

We must resist any implication there is only one way to live outside the restrictive gender binary. We all have different comfort points, we are all individuals. We should not re-create the hierarchies of ‘success’ and ‘passing’ seen in other trans* communities. We should be united in the cause of gaining greater freedom to be our authentic selves, express our genders in whichever way is right for us, and celebrate the diversity of identities possible outside of the rigid binary.

Nobody ‘passes’, nobody fails, nobody left behind.

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The ever fabulous openly trans* classical singer CN Lester talks about vocal androgyny, sharing classical singing videos highlighting high male/androgynous roles and female tenors, baritones and basses:

Before we proceed – I’m not going start with the voices of trans people (that means you have to come back for part two). I thought, rather, to begin with an introduction to the fact that, contrary to what a very foolish society claims, there is no gender binary in the voice. We sing over it all the time. All the time. Do trust me on this – I know whereof I speak. On average the voice of someone who has been through a testosterone-laden puberty will be capable of lower notes than someone who hasn’t – and vice versa. On average. And the size of the chords is only one factor in what gives each each voice its unique flavour.

I think nothing illustrates this fact quite so spectacularly as my classical speciality – the high male/androgynous role. Doesn’t matter what sex or gender you are, so long as you can make a convincing poet/god/hero/prince/musician/knight/page (or look soulful for the religious music) whilst keeping your sound spinning over a broad and shining range.

And have a lovely long look at the work being done by Vivaldi’s Women - where the talents of female tenors, baritones and basses are celebrated rather than ignored.

Read the full post and watch/listen to the videos on CN’s blog

Video

Practical Androgyny - Vocal androgyny in speech and singing

Recorded for PracticalAndrogyny.com an ambiguous gender presentation resources website.

Nat talks about how to develop a more androgynous, ambiguous or gender neutral speaking and singing voice. Assumes nothing about how you identify or whether you voice has been affected by testosterone.

Accompanying blog post with video summary, links to all singers and songs featured, bonus material, additional recommended singers and links to external resources available at:

http://practicalandrogyny.com/2011/10/31/vocal-androgyny-in-speech-and-singing/

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Androgynous model Andrej Pejic known for modeling both male and female fashions is interviewed by ABC News about ‘taking androgyny mainstream’:

The difference is that he is still biologically a man. Pejic said he does not take hormones to alter his appearance, and he has never had to shave his face.

"I prayed to God and it worked," he said.

While he does consider himself to fall under the transgender umbrella, Pejic said he has no plans to undergo any surgeries.

"I feel comfortable the way I am," he said. "I don’t feel the need to alter my body significantly."

Happy in his own skin, Pejic readily admits that his look doesn’t just blur the line between male and female, it seems to erase it. The runway is now dominated by flat-chested, rail-thin giants like him.

When asked if he saw himself as a man or a woman, Pejic responded, “I see myself,” adding that he doesn’t see gender.

"Women are sexier than men," he said. "With every species, there is always a gender that is more extravagant, and in humans that is women. … There is hair, there is skin, there is just more to show the beauty."

Pejic and his family moved to Australia when he was 8 after his parents divorced, escaping ethnic-war-ravaged Yugoslavia.

I grew up in a refugee camp in Serbia,” he said. “My mum was Serbian and my dad was Croatian.”

He said he was 3 or 4 years old when he first put on women’s clothing and, even away from the cameras, Pejic said he is more comfortable wearing female fashions over menswear.

"Like any other kid, except for cowboy outfits, it was something else," Pejic said.

All he saw was “a child,” he said, not a gender. A modeling agency discovered Pejic while he was working at a McDonald’s. They knew he wasn’t the classic alpha male, and Pejic soon crossed over into women’s wear.

Fashion designer Jean Paul Gautier put him in a wedding gown for showing his 2011 spring collection. Gender confusion is precisely what Pejic’s “It Girl” status depends on.

"Now, I tend to use the women’s room because it’s a lot less complicated," he said. "When I try to use the men’s room it’s like, ‘Please leave,’ when I want to go to the toilet. I don’t want to go through the whole process."

More friendly than flirtatious, Pejic said he’ll chat with both men and women while out in public, but remained coy about his sexual identity and his romantic life.

"For me, love has no boundaries," he said.

View the video interview and read the full article at ABC News (NB, the video introduction doesn’t respect Andrej’s genderless identity and the interview is not all that sensitively worded and asks invasive questions about sexual preferences and activity)

Photo
PracticalAndrogyny.com explains why the Necker Cube is the perfect symbol for androgynous gender presentation:

The Necker Cube is symbolic of the androgynous individual’s physical ambiguity. Regardless of whether we identify our genders in the terms of a gender continuum, as being without gender or as being something else entirely, the Necker Cube symbolises the ambiguity we present to a world that is primed to see all people as one of two binary options. Androgynous people can be taken as female, male or as something else entirely but, like the Necker Cube, our ambiguity invites those who interact with us to question what they see, and perhaps strive to see the true picture.

Read more at PracticalAndrogyny.com

PracticalAndrogyny.com explains why the Necker Cube is the perfect symbol for androgynous gender presentation:

The Necker Cube is symbolic of the androgynous individual’s physical ambiguity. Regardless of whether we identify our genders in the terms of a gender continuum, as being without gender or as being something else entirely, the Necker Cube symbolises the ambiguity we present to a world that is primed to see all people as one of two binary options. Androgynous people can be taken as female, male or as something else entirely but, like the Necker Cube, our ambiguity invites those who interact with us to question what they see, and perhaps strive to see the true picture.

Read more at PracticalAndrogyny.com

Photo
deactivated-2012:

Two pictures with the exact same face. But, in one photo you see a girl and in the other one - a guy.
The fact is that this face was created on computer by mixing male and female face features, which gave this androgynous face. With a change of contrast, our brain recognizes the face on the left as being a female one, while on the second photo, where contrast is higher, our brain recognizes it to be a male’s face. For me, this is the best optical illusion of the century. 

Is this true? I see them both as androgynous&#8230;

deactivated-2012:

Two pictures with the exact same face.
But, in one photo you see a girl and in the other one - a guy.

The fact is that this face was created on computer by mixing male and female face features, which gave this androgynous face. With a change of contrast, our brain recognizes the face on the left as being a female one, while on the second photo, where contrast is higher, our brain recognizes it to be a male’s face. For me, this is the best optical illusion of the century.

Is this true? I see them both as androgynous…

(via theartoftransliness)