Trans visibility and trans viability: a Roundtable


This Roundtable is crafted from the online event held on Saturday 20 November 2021 on Trans Visual Cultures. That event was organized to celebrate the recently published themed issue of Journal of Visual Culture on new work in transgender art and visual cultures, guest edited by Cyle Metzger and Kirstin Ringelberg, and suggested for the journal by Jill H Casid. The themed issue emerged from a session run at the College Art Association in New York, 2018, programmed by Metzger and Ringelberg. For the event in November 2021, some of the contributors to the journal's themed issue (Kara Carmack, Sascha Crasnow, Stamatina Gregory, Cyle Metzger and Kirstin Ringelberg) were joined by interlocutor Jill Casid, and respondent Jack Halberstam to share their thoughts on trans visual culture/s now, and to consider what it is to write trans visual culture, as well as to live in relation to transness. The event happened to fall on Transgender Day of Remembrance. Given the fraught or ambivalent feelings that many have about such a day, the event was also taken as an occasion to talk about ways of untethering trans visibility from what is lethal to trans viability. After the event, the organizers solicited a few additional reflections on concerns that emerged - in particular around matters of the visual, trans visibility, and lived experience. These are brought together to act as a refractive prism for what happens when we center thinking seriously with the implications and potentials of trans art and visual culture for trans hopes and fears, kinship and community, lives and loves. The publication of this Roundtable takes the themed issue as a crucial springboard for critical, transversal trans* imaginings of the variant worlds to be unfolded by undoing the lock of the gender binary and its settler colonial and white supremacist violences, and to further the demand that thinking with trans alters substantially the ways we approach the visual.


SAGE Publications

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Visual Culture


Comparative American Studies

Additional Department

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Document Type




Trans bodies, Abstraction, Figuration, Haptic, Trans-relationality, Shimmer