[←] Rose BousamraFaces (2015); [→] François Benveniste – Title Unknown (20XX)

Bousamra’s use of line and color are fucking stellar. (Her work lacks the simple elegance or rigorous consistency of vision that marks Chiara Bautista’s drawings; however, Bousamra, in my opinion, does far more interesting things when juxtaposing positive and negative space.)

As far as Benveniste goes, although I adore this image I cannot get into, condone or excuse his downright fucking offensive surfeit of mediocre images.

The reason I’m posting these two side-by-side is, well… I don’t post about it often but I do have what I self-diagnose as mild-to-medium gender dysphoria. (I’ve posted about it specifically once, I think.)

And, well… if you split the difference between these two images, the result is disarmingly close to my own internal feeling of gender.

At the same time these feelings are as plain as day to me in my mind, I am extremely hesitant to express them. Partly because, AFK, I present as a 6′2″ bearded bear of a guy who is assumed to be straight and cisgendered with slightly more frequency than not.

I’ve gotten used to distancing myself from the straight label. Fuck that noise.

Yet, at the same time I’m hesitant to identify as ‘queer’–even though that feels more and more accurate the more queer folks I meet. Partly, because although the privilege I experience passing does me no favors, I still benefit from it and it feels problematic/disingenuous to “have it both ways”.

I know it’s confusing as fuck and maybe I’m full of shit but I’m usually pretty good at calling bullshit and this bears none of the classic hallmarks.

The reason I mention this at all is because I had one of those two hour long conversations with a new friend. You know the ones where you walk away feeling blissfully stoned, like your head is going to explode because of the infinite possibilities and as tired as a cadaver? Yeah, it was one of those.

But part of what made it so intense is that we each saw a similar absence in each other and immediately understood it. It’s such a rare thing for me to feel seen, much less to be seen as something pretty.

Then again, maybe I just dreamed it…