Saturday, June 22, 2024
ArtHealth & Happiness

Trans Elders Who Paved the Way are Rescued from Invisibility

To Survive on This Shore provides an intense view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

An important historical record of the transgender experience in the United States is brought to the forefront.

The research work of Vanessa Fabbre explores the conditions under which LGBTQ people age well, and what this means in the context of structural forces such as transphobia, heteronormativity, and heterosexism.

“The accessibility of photography — particularly portraiture — draws people in to the larger topic and provides an avenue for education,” said Jess T. Dugan.

Photographer Jess T Dugan

“We intentionally sought out a diverse group of subjects in terms of race and ethnicity, gender identity and expression, age, sexuality, socioeconomic class, geographic location, and life narrative.”

“To create the quotes that accompany the photographs, we record an interview about each person’s life, and we let those interviews be influenced by what that person chooses to share and views as most important to their story,” said Dugan.

Read their compelling stories at

To Survive on This Shore is five years in the making, a result of the duo’s extensive research traveling across the U.S. to big cities and small towns.

For five years they traveled to interview trans elders who are under-represented in our culture because they are older, to create their book which has now been brought to life for the viewers enjoy on the gallery walls with this new museum show. This is the first time the exhibition has been shown at a museum.

SuZie & Cheryl Hawkes, two of Dugan’s subjects who attended the opening in Miami, photographed in the museum in front of their portrait.


The show kicks off the museum’s yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which will culminate in the fall with Art After Stonewall (1969-1989), the first major museum exhibition about how the LGBT civil rights movement impacted the art world.

Frost Art Museum FIU is the first museum in the nation to exhibit this groundbreaking new exhibition, which opened to standing-room-only crowds in Miami.

“To Survive on This Shore,” by Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre, will continue on view through April 28 at the museum.

Latest Articles

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

Queer Forty Staff has 2407 posts and counting. See all posts by Queer Forty Staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.