The ‘80s and ‘90s were an ideal time to reject the contempt of society, and queer artists demanded that constraints on gender and sexuality be subverted. Jennie Livingston’s film, “Paris is Burning” documented the realities of race, gender and poverty of New York City’s ball culture. The gay and trans protagonists performed gender as a “walk” in competitions. True, New York was a dangerous place to be queer in the ‘80s and ‘90s, with AIDS and heroin addiction, but at the balls, performers could re-write their histories and dismantle social code. Nan Goldin’s slideshow “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” proposed a different kind of beauty diverging from hetero norms – she photographed New York City’s No Wave art scene, underground queer spaces and the Bowery’s heroin subculture with tenderness and empathy. Queercore bands Team Dresch and Tribe 8 vocalized discontent with the erasure of queer people in music and promoted shows and manifestos through DIY zines; if SPIN wouldn’t cover these bands, then they created their own spaces and worked to deconstruct the “rules” of sexuality, gender and love.
Header : “Transmit Love.” Photograph. 2016. see more of my work in the gallery.
Cast members – “Paris is Burning.” 1990. Jennie Livingston.