In The End | James Leier

I was always scared of becoming someone that made their identity their entire personality. For a long time I kind of ignored my gender identity in a way, even after coming out. I didn’t really talk about personal trans issues like body changes or taking testosterone or being scared of never being able to afford top surgery. I just wanted to be quiet about a lot of things other people are dealing with too.

Officially coming out was one of the toughest things I have ever done. It was like a brick wall I needed to break through and all of my friends and family were on the other side. It still feels like that sometimes because I will always have ‘coming out’ to do, when I choose to. I will be a transgender man my entire life so it is nearly impossible to not have it somehow influence my life, let alone the medium I choose to express my inner thoughts and feelings.

It isn’t ever obvious though because I don’t make a conscious decision to let my identity influence my art, not yet anyway. I would love to try and be bolder in my creations and really just tell the world who I am. For now, I do it quietly. Whether it’s through expressing masculinity, or the pain and heartbreak of not feeling masculine enough, or the joy of actually feeling like I am becoming the man I want to be. It’s always just there under the surface and looking back on different pieces I can always remember how I was feeling at the time, even if it could be interpreted as something else through someone else’s eyes. The way my gender identity influences my art is visible to me alone.

Whenever I start a piece I don’t have a specific end in mind, and if I do I almost never actually end up where I thought I’d be. But it works, and sooner or later I’m happy with what I’ve made. 

This is much like my transition. I had no idea where I’d end up and to be entirely honest I still don’t. But, like with art, I’m doing my best to make sure I’m happy in the end.

Zoe Rayn Evans