DOLLY

I was quite obsessed with drag and cross dressing the time of this work. My friends and I would regularly get dressed up and go out to party, sometimes for days on end. It was all a lot of fun with absolute freedom from the strictures of the daily expectation of how we expressed our sex and gender. Boys were girls and girls were boys and sometimes we were in between.

I started to experiment with a drag style that questioned and fell outside of the existing paradigm of drag performance. Away from a ‘stage’ and questioning any canons of traditional drag beauty, Shocking Stocking Dolly was a feminist expression rejecting dogmatic expectation of who I was expected to be and how I expressed my femininity. I was indeed also reflecting on my own experiences of being transgender and increasingly female bodied, that being having curves and breasts from taking female hormones. I used on the word ‘tranni’ as a term of self empowerment and inscribed it on my chest. It is a word that is sometimes used as a pejorative for trans people.

With time, the power of this work becomes more apparent to me. It is a resonant piece that had made me seriously question my own relationship to my body and my identity as transgender and gender fluid. In subsequent years I underwent a number of surgeries to reshape my body to have male like characteristics. My experiences have given me confidence in the fluid nature of our skins borders and how our bodies can be a site for significant and ongoing transformation.