This week Soft Skull Press is finally publishing Rebecca Swan's cross-cultural look at twenty-five "transsexuals, gender queers, eunuchs, sister girls, drag kings and queens," through interviews and her photography in Assume Nothing. Released in 2004 in her native New Zealand, the book earned acclaim there and in Australia where the Sydney Star Observer said it "captures beauty beyond the binary of male and female . . . inspiring . . . an intelligent blend of content and form, as Swan is not content with capturing biological evidence of difference with a cool anthropological edge . . . The photography also brings into beautiful sharp relief genders that may, paradoxically remain sublimely ‘out of focus.'" Since then the book has appeared in Germany, Scandinavia, and the UK.
Bringing these stories to an even wider audience, New Zealand filmmaker Kirsty MacDonald adapted Assume Nothing as a documentary released last year. The movie is now making the rounds of US festivals, with its next screening at The Tank on West 45th St. on October 29.
On October 28, Brooklyn bookshop Bluestockings will host a panel discussion on "Art, Activism and Gender Identity" with author Swan, her trans man activist partner Jack Byrne, and GATE co-director Justus Eisfield.