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Hidden Histories: Claude Cahun

By 31st March 2021June 7th, 2024No Comments

On the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, Hundred Heroines is paying homage to transgender and gender non-conforming photographers, past and present. Although artists have long been tackling gender norms and at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, history has not always been kind to them. Read on to (re)discover the work of gender nonconforming artist Claude Cahun (born. 1894) who died relatively unknown in 1954.

 Self portrait (in robe with masks attached), 1928 © Claude Cahun. Courtesy of the Jersey Heritage Collections

all images Courtesy of the Jersey Heritage Collections

Alex Schmider, Associate Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD explains “it is essential that when reporting on a transgender person — whatever the story — their name, gender, and pronoun reflect how they identify and live their lives.” Misgendering or deadnaming non-binary and transgender people further contributes to the erasure of their existence from history. In order to celebrate Claude’s artistic legacy, we must also honour their identity and respect their chosen name and rejection of binary gender signifiers. For this reason, gender-neutral pronouns are used throughout this piece.