¡OUT! Las Transformistas of Havana (Canceled)
¡OUT! Las Transformistas of Havana (Canceled)
Limited edition fine art photography book celebrating the gay men and transgender women performers in Havana's cabarets
Limited edition fine art photography book celebrating the gay men and transgender women performers in Havana's cabarets Read more
About this project
¡OUT! is the new IN!
This book offers an intimate look inside part of Cuban life rarely seen by foreign visitors. As far as my research has shown me, this is the first book dedicated to the Transformistas in Cuba; and it is the first fine art photography book to document the Transformistas in any Latin country.
In recent history gay cabarets have fulfilled the role of community centers in Cuba in the absence of any gay establishments, such as bars, clubs, bathhouses, restaurants, etc. The cabarets have offered safe and welcoming places for LGTBQ people to gather – and, more importantly – to develop a sense of community. The cabarets, and the performances that take place there, have played a critical role in pushing for gay civil rights and promoting AIDS prevention awareness. Also, since the cabarets are popular with mainstream society, they have been the one place where LGBTQ and straight people have come together regularly in mutual acceptance and respect.
¡OUT! Las Transformistas of Havana essentially is a coming out story. It begins with photos of the Transformistas in the safe iindoors and then it moves the Transformistas out into public -- and sometimes iconic -- locations in Havana for the first time. This coming out of the cabarets or the closeted existence of home is a form of empowerment: the Transformistas were claiming their right to be seen as they truly are in the same places where all other people from Havana can go freely.
The book is also a coming out for the LGBTQ community in Cuba. There has not been a great deal published photographically on the gradual emergence of the LGBTQ community. This book helps to introduce the rest of the world to a diverse and increasingly visible community.
Although the constellation of external struggles that the Transformistas in Havana may be unique to Cuba, their personal journey to authentic self-realization and participation in a larger community is common to marginalized groups everywhere.
I have spent a large part of my professional life working with and as an advocate for people outside the social mainstream. I have been inspired by their pride, their fighting spirit, and their willingness to sacrifice so much so that their brothers and sisters can achieve social justice and full inclusion in the fabric of their communities.
So to that end, ¡OUT! Las Transformistas of Havana is also a coming out for me: the book is my personal love letter to LGBTQ people anywhere in the world who feel invisible, excluded, denigrated, persecuted or other made to seem less worthy than you really are. In celebrating the Transformistas of Havana, I also honor you and everything you have to offer to your community.
Public recognition and on display:
* Two images from the book currently are part of a show at Fabrica, Havana's new, multidisciplinary gallery space.
* Two images from the book will be shown beginning in September in Malaga, Spain as part of the International Biennial of Photography.
* Images from the book won a Bronze Award in the Photo Essay category from the OneEyeland Awards.
* Two images from the book won in the Best People and Portrait category in the Worldwide Photography Awards.
Why Kickstarter? I wanted the book literally to embody the spirit and flair of the Transformistas. So I created a limited edition fine art book that is quite costly to produce. All expenses to date have been out of my own pocket, ranging from multiple trips to Cuba to the actual book design. I do not expect to recoup any of this, which is totally fine.
I need to raise $40,000 in addition to the projected sales revenues to make the book a reality. I am asking the Kickstarter community to get me at least to the $20,000 mark. Full funding of the project will allow me to do two special things:
1. Keep the eventual retail price as low as I can so as many people as possible can afford the book. I am very mindful that many members of the communities represented in the book face formidable challenges in gaining decent paying jobs. So I do not want to price them out of the market. The more support the project receives the lower I can price the book.
2. I very much want copies of this book to be made available to transgender organizations, LGBTQ community centers, and gender studies programs at colleges and universities. Supporters of this campaign at the $350 level and above have the opportunity to have a copy of the book donated in their name to a organization or school of their choice.
Risks and challenges
All the work on the book is complete. Now it is a matter of getting it printed and packaged in a beautiful, collectible presentation. I have selected an outstanding company to produce the book. It is possible that there could be short delays in various stages of the print process. I tried to take this into consideration in the delivery schedule for the books: I hope to have the book done and delivered to me by late September, but I am not committing to sending the book out to supporters until October in case of any such delays.
My work does require me to travel a fair amount. If any last minute travel obligations arise that would create any delay in getting rewards to supports, I will notify you immediately.
I intend to take great care in packaging rewards to supporters. If anything arrives damaged, I certainly will replace that it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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