Why Transitional States?

The development of Transitional States has been a labour of love. A lot of hard work, but undeniably worth the time and effort that has gone into its creation.


With the video art exhibition and public programme launched, I have been asked why hormones and why such a strong focus on trans issues? Of course, that’s not all the programme is about, but the overriding link across everything is hormones. Broadly speaking, half of the videos contained in exhibition explore trans issues while the other half focuses on the medicalisation of women’s bodies. So, let me begin with hormones.


I work as a historian and my research has involved looking at how different forms of medicine has impacted people’s sexual lives in many different ways. From the 1920s to the 1980s, hormone research, human experiments and ‘treatments’ were widespread in many Latin countries.


I am documenting this work, but I also wanted to show how the same ‘treatments’ are now used to enhance people’s lives – especially trans people – although there are clearly links to fertility treatments and reproduction, as well as ageing. All of these issues feature in the exhibition.


Yet there was another, almost stronger reason for bringing this exhibition to life, and especially for launching it in Lincoln, and that was the students.


In the almost three years I have been working at Lincoln I have got to know many LGBTIQ students and they have provided much of the motivation for this programme. Some have been involved in this project since the very beginning, while others have joined more recently, but they have all shared their experiences and been generous in their time. I have learnt from them that it remains vitally important to talk about LGBTIQ issues, and that is one of the reasons we decided to launch Transitional States during LGBT History Month.


To everyone who has been involved in Transitional States so far, thank you. Together, we had created a programme that will educate, inspire, enthuse and challenge people in so many different ways. Thank you for joining me on the journey to get this far.

Dr Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln) leads the programme.