This book is inspired by the pictures that Giordano Bonora, a young streetcar operator and aspiring photographer, took of Bologna’s small transgender community in 1980 (although it would be more correct to speak, in this case, of proto-Transgenderism). Reproduced here for the first time, these raw and gilded images reflect—during a period in Italy characterized by subversive movements and political revolts that were not just rooted in questions of identity—attempts made by T* people at a construction of the self outside the binary logic of the genotypically XY male/genotypically XX female. By people like Valérie—a woman’s face, a hairless chest with no breasts, a fleur-de-lis tattooed on the shoulder, and two pairs of pantyhose—for whom “gender” is not determined biologically but something to be embraced depending on the circumstances. A box containing a jigsaw puzzle with a picture that is constantly changing. Bundled with the photographs, a handful of texts set out to explain how the question of gender involves two cultural levels of sexual difference, the normative and the dissident, and how the decision-making power over organs outside heteropatriarchal systems of sexuality and processes of disidentification are the stakes in the new “somato-political” struggle against hegemonic regimes of oppression conducted by enchanting, allied, opaque, and vulnerable bodies. Winner of the FLAT Prize–Fondazione Arte CRT, 2018.
With texts by Paolo Barbaro, Paul B. Preciado, Helena Velena, Salvatore Vitale, Wendy Vogel. Photographs by Giordano Bonora