Several years back I edited a submissions blog for queer pagans of all genders, sexualities and paths called the Bent Pentacle. It’s been on hiatus since 2013 but recently I’ve been thinking about starting it up again. So this morning I revamped the site and put up a new post, check it out here
So the other day I saw a tweet asking for LGBT artists for an exhibition in London. There was very little information, but there was an email address to find out more. So I send an email with a link to my website and asking what it’s all about, turns out it’s for a London Pride event run by Goldman Sachs.
The first sentence of their Wikipedia page:
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational investment banking firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients.
So at this point I’m already giving a massive side eye, but I continue messaging them. I become slightly less friendly and ask what would be expected from artists and what they would get from it. The response:
“It is an exhibition – not a gallery, so we will not be promoting sales etc. We will allow information on the artist to be there should someone be interested in contacting you further.”
I’ve never heard of the distinction between an exhibition and a gallery being whether the work is for sale (and all the exhibitions I’ve been in has allowed artists to sell work as well). I guess we should be thankful that they would “allow” artists to display information about themselves alongside the work they have spent time, energy and money creating.
I asked whether they would be paying artists separately. The response?
“No – at the moment that is not in the cards”
So to clarify – a multinational banking firm is organising an exhibition as part of London pride, and not only are they not planning on paying artists, they are also not allowing them to sell the work they exhibit. This is pretty disgusting, and makes it abundantly clear that they are only interested in corporate pink washing and making themselves look good rather than actually supporting LGBT/queer artists (not that I thought they would genuinely be interested in that but you might have thought that the Pride team would have got them to at least pretend better)
I was rather blunt in my response, but I did stop short of pointing out that they’re not exactly short of a bob or two which I felt was very restrained.
This is a bit of a departure from my usual blog activity, but it’s been really bothering me and I wanted to get it off my chest..
EDIT: so this post has been getting a lot of attention, which is nice. I wanted to add a few things to it in light of some of the responses.
1) if you look below, you’ll see Peter Tatchell has given a response. Unfortunately he’s basically ignored the entire point of the article, and instead claimed that he never said he was being no platformed, despite the fact that in the post he made he clearly claims he is a victim of silencing through no platforming, and everyone arguing for him is also describing it as such. He’s saying the problem is just the fact that Fran called him a transphobe and a racist, though of course he still hasn’t shared the actual email so we don’t know what they actually said and are just going by his word (rumour is it was far more nuanced and thought out than he’s claiming).
2) I haven’t been approving most of the comments on this post, simply because most of them were just parroting Tatchell’s original statement and responding to them would have simply been repeating myself which I can’t be bothered to do. They talked about how terrible no platforming is (despite Tatchell claiming he never said he was no platformed) and that Fran deserves it because of what they wrote about Tatchell (despite the fact that none of us have actually seen what they wrote). Of course there was also people saying I should worry about more important things, because of course as we all know it’s physically impossible to care about more than one thing at once.
Basically if you’re not adding anything new to the conversation I’m not going to approve your comment.
EDIT 2: Fran has responded to Tatchell’s allegations. Their reasoned and nuanced tone makes a massive contrast to Tatchell’s bombastic and dramatic post about it. Of course it probably won’t get anywhere near as much press as he did, but I hope people will at least consider it before claiming Tatchell is beyond reproach
Dear Peter Tatchell,
We’ve been talking on Twitter about this but I wanted to write something here to you as there’s a lot that I want to say and a 140 character limit just doesn’t work for me.
The last few days I’ve been reading the many articles based on your statement about NUS LGBT officer Fran Cowling, and how they refused to share a stage with you at an event. Many, many articles. Every single one of these are supporting your claims that you are being unfairly silenced, that this is an example of how freedom of speech is being eroded in universities and activists are becoming unreasonable and turning on innocents.
However what is missing from all this is that you were never actually under attack. Fran isn’t a well known figure beyond their own circles, and they weren’t even making these comments publicly – it all happened in private emails between them and the organisers of the event. They had been invited to speak alongside you, and they responded that they didn’t want to. Now this is something which they are completely within their right to do, freedom of speech is also freedom to not engage. So then it seems the organisers forwarded the email onto you. It’s understandable that you might want to reach out to them, to see if you could talk it through. But they didn’t want to have that conversation with you, which again they are free to do.
I’ve had a bit of a rejig of my site and added a page dedicated to my performance and modelling work! I’ve not done a lot of it, but after having been registered with Ugly Models for over a year I’ve finally started getting work through them, and so I’m beginning to build up a portfolio of professional jobs. I would be getting more but I’ve had to take on a full time office job – it was a sad day last week when I had to turn down a job dancing in my pants for a music video because I had to stare at a computer instead. It’s only temporary so I’m there’ll be plenty more professional public nudity once I’m set free!
I’ve also been doing a couple of Boylesque workshops with the fabulous Screaming Keating at Pink Kitten dance school here in Bristol, and it’s something I really want to pursue, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of me…
Thanks to Mauro for taking the time to speak to me about my work! If you’re interested in buying prints of these paintings find out how here: http://www.chrishubley.com/man-cunt-prints
Chris Hubley (https://chrishubley.com/) is a Bristol-based artist who has broken the wall of the usual half-interested scrolling on the social media with his project “Man Cunt – Intimate self portraits of a transgender man”. Chris is a transgender man and his painting works are currently focused on trans and queer subjects, the most important of them: himself. He’s well aware of the centrality of his experience as a trans man in his artistic discoveries – the last one is properly: painting – and one of his goals is also to contribute to the building of a network of trans artists. The first occasion to see the works produced by some amazing Trans artists coming from across the UK has been Trans/Forms (https://www.facebook.com/transformsbristol), a series of art, performance and music events organized by Chris Hubley at the Hamilton House in Bristol to commemorate the Transgender Day of…
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This is an installation which I am facilitating as part of the Trans/Forms exhibition of transgender artists at Hamilton House, to mark Transgender day of Remembrance which takes place every year on November 20th. Visitors are invited to write the name of a transgender person who lost their lives through transphobic violence and add it to the piece. Through this I hope to give people a way to honour those departed as well as to encourage people who may not know much about the issues affecting transgender people to engage with the issue of transphobic violence.
Here is what I wrote about it for the exhibition:
Transgender day of remembrance is held on November 20th every year. On this day across the world people hold vigils and memoral ceremonies for transgender people who have lost their lives through transphobic violence in the last year. As part of this a list of names is compiled, using news sources from around the world. This year the number of names is 271, with most being trans people of colour.
I invite you to partake in helping create a memorial to these 271 individuals, as well as those who are unnamed who’s deaths were never reported, those who’s trans identity was erased after their death and those who took their own lives.