Initially a pejorative term, “queer” was reclaimed amidst the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s as a positive self-identifier for a culture and demographic that rejects heteronormative and binary definitions of gender and sexuality. Although queer culture has become more mainstream in the public eye, including the legalization of gay marriage and the growing usage of multiple pronouns, there is still a cultural ambivalence surrounding queer and non-binary identities. They’re, Their, There explores visual representations and performances of queerness through a variety of media that have historically served as a platform for the queer and non-binary community, including zines, prints, photographs, and sculpture.
The works in this exhibition illustrate various means of expression through which queer individuals combat stigmatization and assert empowered identities. This exhibition does not claim to assert a comprehensive grasp of queer performance, but to present artwork and ephemera that explore a range of individual experiences, including the first issue of VELOUR: The Drag Magazine, co-founded by Brooklyn drag legend Sasha Velour and her partner Johnny Velour; Aysen Gerlach’s Just Lookin’ zine series; and photographer Jess T. Dugan’s To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults, a collaboration with social worker Vanessa Fabbre.