A new kind of professional.

How do you define professional? Is it someone with no tattoos and piercings, someone with no public personality and someone who always keeps up a perfect persona? If it is, get with the times!

Honestly, I don’t even think there is such thing as a “professional” anymore, just people, who due to capitalism, are more well-known than others. For example (lets stick with something I know and say creators), now, creators fall into many categories and sub categories, such as “famous”, “Professional”, “amateur”, “beginner” etc, but in reality, the “famous” people are just those with large followings and may in fact be less “professional” than those who fall into the professional category. Okay my heads beginning to spin with all this!

Essentially where I’m trying to get to with this, is that many people will tell you that sharing your thoughts and feelings, ups and downs on social media is deemed unprofessional. This may have been true many years ago, but now, in the age of technology, it is often a way to connect with your larger audience. People don’t want to follow people who are closed off, seemingly “perfect” as this isn’t a true representation of anyone on the planet. No one only has highs and whilst its seemingly an influencers talent to only show the pool parties, holidays and luxury foods, this, as pointed out by many articles, is just not real-life. However, I also do not think that we should shame these people for only showing their highs, just as we shouldn’t shame people for showing their highs and lows.

For me, and many other people, posting our struggles help combat the dark times we are going through. I personally, don’t tend to do it as often as I did, purely because my mind is in a much better place, however, if I was to mentally struggle again I would not want to be deemed “unprofessional” and “unemployable” for this. Many people praise mental health advocates for says x, y and z about mental health, the congratulate magazines for writing an article romanticising depression, but when someone who may be in the public eye shows the ugly sides of these mental illnesses, they are automatically deemed as unprofessionalism. From what I can gather, this is often because people never want to actually admit that these things happen to people, but on the flip side, there are people who are genuinely grateful that people share these experiences because it makes them feel less alone.

Lets use my own experiences for example, being a transgender male, I have struggled with many aspects of my identity, coming to terms with the fact I wasn’t cis and having very extreme lows due to dysphoria. I have documented this process throughout to where I am today, not for “attention”, but to hopefully make at least one person feel less alone in what they are experiencing and to normalise the feelings that trans people experience throughout their transition. Now, in the past, this could have been seen as unprofessional as sometimes, the experience isn’t happy and has been a source of great depression, sharing this would have been frowned upon. However, in 2019, this is helpful and the age of the internet is turning into a generation who can share their experiences, without fear that they are going to be viewed differently.

This is a shift from the last “unprofessional” debate that happened (and is still ongoing), of tattoos and piercings. As lots of people rightly think nowadays, “How on earth do tattoos and piercings mean that you cannot fulfil your job correctly”, there are still the odd person from previous generations of people who see them as strictly “unprofessional” and not suitable for work places. Thankfully, many places are becoming accustomed to allowing workers to have tattoos, piercing and dyed hair. So, when will people stop seeing mental health as an unprofessional trait to have- when in reality, it is not something that we choose. Why is talking about our own mental health experiences seen as unprofessional?

I’ll leave you here with one last thought: How is someone tweeting “Today I really want to die” seen as unprofessional, yet the President of the USA tweeting childish statements such as; “Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!” and “Dopey @Lord_Sugar I’m worth $8 billion and you’re worth peanuts…without my show nobody would even know who you are.” You would almost think as president, he would have some kind of standard to uphold, but apparently not. (I have chosen slightly less offensive tweets) And I mean do I even need to say it? Talking publicly about grabbing woman by the p*ssy is DEFINITELY unprofessional and for ever will be.

I’ll definitely stick to reading people live tweet their depressive episodes (and of course reach out) and tweet my own depressive episodes, than read/tweet completely absurd, offensive, childish drivel.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Alex

*it was a long one this time oops, full rant mode got me*

The exhibition

Gosh I bet you’re all SICK of me talking about this exhibition, but please, let me be excited and proud of everything I’ve accomplished!

The day was finally upon us, 14/06/19, the exhibition opened. Everything in place, my work had been up for multiple weeks (I had terrible visions of it somehow falling down or getting damaged before opening day), all that was needed now was the people who were interested in viewing photography.

4:30pm Celebratory drinks.

5:30pm The guests arrived.

I of course hung around my work, my ego needed to hear kind words being spoken about something I finally put into the real-world public realm rather than online. I was not disappointed like I feared I was going to be. Thankfully people actually took time out of their schedules to not only look at my work, but to meticulously read the captions that my wonderfully brave models had written about their trans experience and then reflect upon those words. I heard people asking “is that really how the world views trans people?” and unfortunately all I could think was “yes” and this made me realise that there is still so much awareness that can be done. It appears that within the trans community, these topics are often heard, the hatred seems to be amplified in our ears and we can’t escape it, whilst it is totally possible for cis people to turn a blind eye, cover their ears and pretend that they haven’t heard the unkind, targeted words. They may read the articles within the media of scare-mongering, but it does not affect them and they may not necessarily notice the people that are actually being affected by the words, therefore its easy to forget, however, when it is presented to them in an art/visual form, it is a lot harder to escape. It is happening and there needs to be more to make it stop.

Past the opening night, on 17/06/19 I had a very engaging conversation with an older man, whom I was wary around as I unfortunately haven’t had much luck with the older generation accepting the trans community as a whole, but he was very engaged with the work, had lots of respective questions and was thankful that I had brought light to something that he didn’t quite understand the ins and outs of before viewing the work, but understood that society needed to change further to support LGBT+ people. He left with different sources that he had asked me to direct him to and I felt so happy having a good experience and chat with someone who was genuinely understanding and friendly. It makes me feel as though my work is truly making some kind of difference even if it is just within the local community, for now.

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Exhibition opening dates

17/06/19- 21/06/19

10am-4pm

6 Green Terrace, Sunderland SR1 3PZ