Of the 17 young people who accessed the project we carried out a series of exit interviews with the participants. Names have been changed for the purposes of this report.
Lee was born in 1992. He is a full time undergraduate student in design engineering, currently living in Birmingham. He identifies as male, white British, and is questioning his sexual orientation.
I really enjoyed the i-trans project. I used to do a lot of art at school but then I stopped, but being here has got be back into it. I liked the colourful pieces of Hexen 2.0 – those caught my eye. That’s what I used to do; how I used to paint. I got my influences from my old work. I did really enjoy it. I’ve never been to an art exhibition before at all and I enjoyed discussing it with everyone too and getting everyone’s thoughts. Because art is so interpretive, getting loads of different thoughts and ideas from everyone was brilliant.
John was born in 1990. He described his situation as currently being unable to work. He identifies as androgyne male, white British and gay. He described himself as having ‘social anxiety, self esteem problems and is sometimes prone to depression’.
It’s been really good. It’s really helped me. Art is my forte so I’m in my element at a project like this. Being in this environment with other young people like myself and where we can share our ideas and talk about other things. It’s been a really, really positive experience for me.
The Hexen 2.0 project was really interesting. It really influenced one of my art pieces because there was a lot of linking things with computers and scientists and everything all linking together with one another through facts or through inventions and that influenced my art piece about internet links and how the different pages link together.
This [pointing to his notebook sketches] is research about brain cells and nerve cells which relates to the brain exhibition at the Wellcome Centre. What I noticed was the way the nerve cells link together is very similar to the structure of cyberspace or the internet with electrical signals going backwards and forwards.
People use the feelings that you experience from your nerve cells as proof of being alive and the parallel is that technology isn’t living but it’s structured in the same way and in a way it’s capable of harnessing our emotions.
The main thing that I’ve taken away from this project is the creative process – coming up with different ideas and how to respond to stimulus. And the briefs and when we want to see the art exhibitions I had a lot of ideas from that. I think I’ve gained a lot in the piece in terms of creativity. I’m a naturally artistic person and so it’s very important to me.
Gendered Intelligence has provided a safe and comfortable environment that has allowed me to explore my creativity and boost my motivation and confidence, while also connecting me to other young trans people. This has also helped me to socialise and become more at ease around others.
Phillip was born in 1991, from Nottingham. He identifies as a trans man, white British and whose sexual orientation is bisexual/ queer. He is currently employed part time.
What I’ve taken away from this project is a sense of community. Before I didn’t really know that many trans people in real life. I knew a lot on line, but I don’t have somewhere where I can just go to meet other trans people. It’s been a very worthwhile experience to actually get out there and meet other people and socialize.
I’m hoping to get along to future Gendered Intelligence events. I think it is a valuable resource for any young trans person who may feel that there isn’t enough where they live. It’s definitely been a worthwhile experience.
I wanted to attend those workshops as I had never had any confidence in any form of artwork and would always think it was rubbish it and throw it away. These workshops allowed me to do artwork and actually present it and have pride in the work I produce. Attending GI has also been an invaluable social resource and a chance to meet other trans people and to belong and feel safe somewhere. As someone who often feels very alone, this experience has been a huge boost for me.
Zane, age 20 came from Crewe. They identify as gender queer, which means to identify as outside of, or beyond the identity categories of male and female.
I’m working on a piece that’s to do with…. I was thinking about emotions in relation to being trans. I was thinking about the kind of freedom and release that you get when you feel comfortable in knowing that you’re trans and to me freedom is all about a light feeling, almost being able to fly. But I also feel like even though I know what I am there’s a pressure from other people which is why there is a crouched expression to the image, like being pushed down as well as some kind of feeling… whenever I’m around some members of my family my identity is pushed down, so that’s what that part of the image is about.
I feel like this project has given me…. I often do a lot of art but I don’t do it in a social environment. I work on my own and being around other people has given me a way of bouncing ideas off other people to be inspired by other people’s work and not work so much in a vacuum producing the same set of ideas over and over again with very little variation and very little challenge to myself.
Raven identifies also as gender queer. They are 24 and live in Brighton.
The workshops have been really great – to explore different aspects of trans experience with other people and also to have the space and the time to be allowed to explore these things through art in a relaxed fashion and supportive environment.
I think this project has enabled me to artistically explore aspects of my trans identity and experience in ways that I would not have had the resources or stimulus to do otherwise. Being involved in the project alongside other young people has also helped make to frame my options and experience in a more positive way, through the work. It has encouraged me to make something positive, creative, attractive and productive out of my experience as a young trans person, which has been hugely positive in terms of how I view my transition more widely.
Philippa is 25 and lives in Crawley. She identifies as female. She has been unemployed for several years and describes herself as a person with ‘low confidence’.
The project has enabled me to meet new people and explore my creative side. I have not had an opportunity to explore this before outside this environment.
David is 17, and lives in Surrey. He identifies as a trans man. He is currently not working or studying, but hopes to in the future.
This project has helped me to begin feeling a bit happier and proud of my work, even though I still found it difficult to share my personal work. It made me realise that even though I’ve still got a long way to fully accepting myself, being surrounded by and talking to people I can relate to is slowly making me respect and understand myself.