What's the T: A Celebration of Transfem Beauty
I got to collab with an amazing photographer and videographer by the name of Marcus “Lex” Thompson. He reached out to me on social media to let me know he was in Brooklyn and wanted to work with me, and there wasn’t a second thought about it. The experience was dope. Marcus has a demeanor that will make you fall in love with him instantly and trust his vision.
Big Momma Thang starring Mojo Disco, Directed by @TheLexVision
Check out this exclusive interview with the man behind the lens.
Mojo: Tell us who you are, where you’re from, and how you identify
Lex: People call me Lex, I’m from The D (Detroit). My pronouns are he/his/him, and I identify as NU•MAN [\noo•mĕn\]. NU•MAN is a new man — balanced, liberated, equipped for the new world.
Mojo: What is Feminini-T? What inspired it?
L: Feminini-T [pronounced “Femininity”] is me breathing for the first time. It’s me speaking the truth even though my voice shakes. It’s years of unlearning toxic views and ideology — it’s shame surpassed. But more concretely, it’s an international photo-movement for trans-feminine [+GNC/Enby femmes]. Its aim is to play a part in raising awareness for trans beauty, and to create a conversation that will signify solidarity among all people by showing the strength and diversity of the global trans community.
I remember seeing very few images outside of cis-normativity in my childhood, but the most notable was undeniably the RuPaul show in 1996. I remember I used to turn out all of the lights and put the covers over my head so that if anyone ever walked in I could pretend that I was sleeping — but truth be told, the first time that I saw Ru, I laid awake at night staring at the ceiling for like two days. This (among other things) sent me to the internet where I basically spent 14 years reading forums, essays, and theories about trans-attraction.
Fast forward to my twenties: I was young, proud, and living in Seoul, Korea. Moving away from your hometown can be great because you’re able to have a hand in redefining yourself. I was able to meet some folks and have community during my 4 years there. The idea of men who are attracted to trans women having a “coming out” was always so stupid to me, because I always played it out in my head as: “Hey, you’re never going to believe this… but, I like women!” ...which sounded like a pretty dumb-ass thing for a cis-het man to say. That withstanding, I definitely remember having one. I was 24. I remember saying those words out loud: “I love trans women.” It was amazing. A 24-year release that I knew was the first of many. I never wanted to be silent again. I talked myself out of some friendships. I talked myself into divorce, and eventually, I talked myself into doing this project. I have so much more to say.
M: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced curating this series?
L: One thing that immediately comes to mind is, being the fact that I am a muscular, masculine, cis-het, black man (which is basically the ‘face’ of murder in the trans community) in the early days of the project sometimes people were/are wary of my intentions/are possibly concerned for their safety initially if they get a DM from me on my personal account. Being that there are several understandable reasons for folks to be careful around cis-het men, I get it. So I don’t ask anyone to trust me, I just go on being trustworthy.
M: What message do you hope to get across/promote with your work?
L: Main thing being that: Trans is Beautiful! By being an awesome, attractive, talented, young, and successful Black man, saying those words out loud bare an unprecedented significance. I hope that by speaking my truth that I will be able to start the conversation where other men who are attracted to trans women are able to finally begin talking. I also want to create irrefutable evidence that transness is not “new.” It isn’t a trend that “came out of nowhere,” and it isn’t a “fad for millennial snowflakes.” Transness is real. It’s valid, vibrant, and valuable — and it exists in every civilization, on every continent, in every culture in all of the world. I feel like that’s really powerful.
M: What’s in the future for the Feminini-T series?
L: The future is: the rural United States, India, South America, Australia, AFRICA. The future is the world, baby!