The series Transpose is the result of collaboration with transgender people in Ireland that set out to make environmental portraits in ‘safe spaces’ for transgender people around the country. Many of the portraits were made at the wonderful space Outhouse on Capel Street. The work grew over to become an appreciation of key trans activists and allies in Ireland at a particular moment. It is important to me to have a record of the people who are currently denied rights in our country as well as the people who are fighting for equality and advocating on behalf of trans* people. This is important to me not only because I identify as a bisexual woman and an activist but because the trans* community is one of the most marginalised groups in society.

In Ireland when this work was made, transgender people could not have the gender on their birth certificate changed. Ireland was the only EU country that did not allow for legal recognition of transgender people. Other issues that transgender people faced were; forced divorce, adequate access to healthcare, lack of qualified and knowledgeable doctors.

Therefore I turn my camera to my life and the lives of the people and issues I care about in an attempt to highlight LGBT rights in Ireland. Is it fair to be denied rights, respect and dignity just because of your gender identity? A question the viewer might consider is how could anyone deny this person any right?

Transpose was exhibited in 2013 as part of the PhotoIreland festival in Dublin and as part of the group show, INTERIM at Belfast Exposed Gallery. The work was published by the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland as part of a landmark report on transphobic hate crimes in Ireland. Studio Aad published a book of Transpose at the end of 2014 as part of their Where We Are series.

My work over the last number of years has focused on the rights denied to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Work has been published by Amnesty International, Diageo, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), PinkNews and other non-profits/commercial organisations. Images from the project Transgender Ireland have been published in the landmark publication "Touching the Surface - Trans Voices in Ireland" and "Equality and Identity" which were produced by TENI. The work has been exhibited in various galleries across Ireland and the UK.

The final work, made as I studied towards an MFA at the University of Ulster, was exhibited again in September 2014 at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin.

Please contact me if you would like to be involved.  We can meet up and discuss the project in further detail over a coffee/pint.  


T:  @al_mcdonnell

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