|| nemesis has now opened submissions for our first issue of the college year &&& we are accepting poetry ++ other forms of creative writing, as well as visual art and academic or personal essays. send yours to nemesis.tcd@gmail.com before midnight November 5th • • • • • that’s when submissions close (!!) \\ ||

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Trans Live Art Salon presents: Fully Automated Luxury Gender Oasis – A Review

by Clara Tatlow-Devally


As part of the Fringe Festival, September 2017, the Trans Live Art Salon put
together an incredible four day series of shows, workshops, readings, relaxing
and more, for which they received a well-deserved reward of €5,000 to put
towards next year’s Fringe Festival. After attending their events this year, I
can’t wait to see what they do with it. The Trans Live Art Salon is made up of
creative, visionary trans people, who, this year, provided Dublin with a space
like none other; they called this space The Oasis…

“Welcome to the Oasis”, Em, a member of the collective greeted the curious
faces that poked their heads round the door on the 2nd floor of the Temple Bar
Gallery and Studios. Incomers were met with the sight of people lounging on
beanbags and fake grass, among inflatable flamingos, seagulls and orcas.
Drawing, colouring, writing, creating – or examining the created; the art on the
walls, reading a book from the trans library curated by the Salon, or chatting
amongst themselves: everyone is at ease in the Oasis. Not only was this room
somewhere for people to share their art but somewhere for you to create art as
well. To share as well as process, and develop. The Oasis had a balance of calm
and excitement, of laughter and silence. A series of workshops and
performances were held over the four day period, all of which were thought
provoking in different ways, and all of which outlined the importance of a space
like this: somewhere accessible in the middle of the city, created by trans people
for trans people.

library oasis

Gender Workshop
This workshop on gender consisted of a panel of five people (with more joining
as the workshop progressed), talking about their experience of transitioning and
life as a trans person in Dublin. This workshop was intimate and personal, as
the panel shared their own stories, feelings and thoughts. The audience was
welcome to share and engage or to listen and learn from the panel members.
One important topic that was discussed during this workshop was the lack of
information on trans-ness and transitioning offered outside the internet. The
only way to receive an education on trans-ness is online, meaning people aren’t
having real life conversations like the one that took place in this room, about
their own identities. The negative implications of this are obvious: not having a
community to go to results in isolation. Not only does this mean that people
can’t meet and talk about their similar experiences, it also means that people
who think they may be trans; people who are going through a transition or who
know someone who is trans; cannot learn about or talk about being trans in
Ireland (unless they were lucky enough to catch this workshop). While the
subject of this was touched on, the workshop was mainly focused on listening to
stories that had not been given this kind of platform before. Topics like how
accessible hormone blockers, testosterone and oestrogen are in Ireland (the
answer was not very – shocking, I know), what people have to do to access
medication, the option of a non-medical route, reasons to transition, sex, coming
out… the list goes on. Each topic was approached with openness, humour and
respect. This workshop achieved many things, but most importantly, it provided
a safe space for trans people to talk about their experiences with one another.
By the end, the intimate and personal had been shared by the generous panel,
who spoke so honestly and openly about their own experiences and adversities
as trans people in Dublin.

trans friend

Spoken Word
The Fully Automated Luxury Gender Oasis presented an exciting and magical
evening of spoken word on a Sunday night in the middle of Temple Bar. The
oasis hosted many talented, funny, honest, endearing and open performers, all
sharing stories that have yet to be told outside spaces like these. Performers
approached the personal in a creative manner, putting their experience out in the
open, sharing them in funny, beautiful and eloquent ways.

oasis again

Queer Space
People gathered for the Queer Space workshop, having been told that would be
in the format of a long table discussion I was curious to find out what this
meant. A table laid out with biscuits, cake and coffee all on top of a pristine
white table cloth, sat happily by the window of the Oasis, overlooking Temple
Bar on a Monday afternoon. People came in slowly and perched themselves
somewhere in the Oasis, on a beanbag, a bench, and some at the long table.
They could help themselves to coffee and biscuits before the discussion started.
Em, who is running the workshop, then read out the “rules”, although they were
more like guidelines, as the charm and fascination of this workshop was that it
was able to take its own form. Whoever sits at the table was part of the
conversation and allowed to speak, those not sitting at the table were spectators
or onlookers, only allowed to voice an opinion if they chose to physically join
the conversation and sit at the long table. The format of this workshop enabled a
very unique discussion to happen; each participant was able to control their own
experience of the workshop. While some participants sat at the table for the
whole workshop, some drifted in and out. This format put everyone who felt
they had something to add on an equal footing. No one was an expert, no one
knew more or less than anyone else. Once you sat at the table your voice was of
equal value. And when you decided to leave the table your role, not your value,
changed. You now assumed the humbling role of listening to those willing and brave enough to share their experience or opinions.

The topic of Queer Space led to many different conversations about the lack of
Queer Space in Dublin and the problems with already existing Queer Spaces.
There aren’t many queer spaces, and the ones that exist tend to be exclusive or
inaccessible in one way or another, whether that be in the form of classism or
lack of accessibility to neuro-divergent or disabled people. Age in the Queer
Community was discussed; how it plays a role in dividing or uniting the
community. The hyper intellectual elitism in Queer Spaces that makes it
inaccessible to many Queer people. And lastly a discussion on the word
“Queer”, considering its history is it acceptable to use? Why people would and
wouldn’t use it, what it means to individual people as an identity or a harmful
word. This workshop was eye opening, as its format commented on the way in
which we communicate with one another – the importance of getting involved
in discussions around you, as well as the importance of listening instead of
speaking, taking a step back, and striking a balance between the two.


Chill Out Space
The Chill Out Space in the Oasis was perhaps one of its best features. To
compliment the output of creativity, opinions and experiences that were being
shared during the performances in the evenings and workshops during the day,
the chill out space meant participants and passers-by were able to drop in, relax
and re-energise.

This space is an art gallery, a stage, a library all in one. It has to be, because
there is no other space like this in Dublin. The Oasis is a safe space for Trans
folk to share their art, meet other trans and LGBT+ people, but mostly, a space
where trans people can be themselves. During the workshop on Gender, the first
workshop of the weekend, a participant in the panel pointed out why this space

was important; this is a trans dominated space. Not somewhere where one trans
voice speaks for all, a tokenism that irradicates the guilt of the privileged
without actually including people, or creating safe spaces where they can be
listened to. This space is for trans voices to be heard, and a place for their
bodies to be.