Kiss Your Comrades
March 3, 2017
by Lewis Brennen
Southampton PhD student Jenn Shaller is working on Kiss Your Comrades, a short story collection which seeks to creatively inhabit trans queer perspectives in both form and content.
The collection deals with three major themes: gender, neurodivergence, and queer intimacy — specifically friendship and community. The idea is to not only move away from the sensationalisation and fetishisation that often accompany trans representations in media, but to instead imagine how we trans writers might use the creative word as a method of artistic resistance; to occupy art as a space for healing and dialogue where we might challenge our own community’s reliance on gender essentialism, and instead embrace a radical politics of autonomy.
It is the synergetic efforts of ‘decolonial feminism’ as coined by María Lugones, Alyson Escalante’s ‘Gender Nihilism: An Anti-Manifesto’, and Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble’ that inform the core politics of this project. Additionally, this project draws on qualitative exploration of trans experience as well as examines literary techniques employed by writers dealing with representations of identity.
Kiss Your Comrades is a collection which portrays an alternative to neurotypical, cis-heteronormative ideals of gender performance and relationships and instead presents a textual space to fuse the personal with the political and to explore trans queer identity as a multi-faceted, non-linear experience.