Caprice, 55, Chicago

The portraits of silver trans

Author: admin

The transgender community has witnessed great advancement in terms of acceptance in the recent past globally. Yet, there is a section of the community that has been overlooked: the silver transgenders. With this in mind, American photographer Jess T Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre have launched a book, To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults, that features 65 portraits and interviews of older trans adults. “I wanted to both highlight and record the stories of older people who, in many cases, came out a long time ago—and, in some cases, were directly responsible for creating this moment that we’re in now—but are somewhat overlooked. I think older (trans) adults are often left out of that conversation,” Dugan shares in an interview with CNN. Along with Fabbre, Dugan conducted interviews with subjects across ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and states for the book that captures and depicts the “struggles and joys” of being a senior transgender. “One interesting thing about working on this project was realising how different everyone’s stories were,” she says. “But I do think there was a common thread of people struggling to figure out their identity, or come to terms with it. Their transitions often resulted in a lot of social fallout—people losing homes or families. So there was this kind of dual experience: of finding freedom and community, and then also losing comfort or security.” Studies have shown that transgenderism is almost as common in silvers as the young. However, their experiences have been greatly different from today’s transgender youth. The book aims to create a platform for representation of older trans people. To know more, log on to

Photo courtesy: © Jess T. Dugan courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago
February 2019