Not Drag

Capturing Irish women expressing sexuality through ‘drag’ with photographer, Audrey Gillespie

Words by Audrey Gillespie

Photography is my prime medium. My focus in my works are to address my own personal issues with LGBTQ+ communities, mostly those locally around me, as well as from the general world of LGBTQ+, with the bigger focus as of recently being ‘drag’.

I’m from a small town in Ireland, where the drag scene is severely lacking. Not Drag came with all the general looks and stares that generally come with doing something ‘outside of the box’. But thankfully with no severe abuse.

For me its important to look into all the different sub cultures of drag, not just the popular artists that the general public see. It’s much more interesting to see just how accepting the public audience really is of things that challenge the social norm of gender and sexuality.

Not Drag started with my own projections of how I felt about drag onto chosen models. The hair, the makeup, the styling, was all me. That then changed quickly to then only being expressed on female models and then eventually to myself. Through this project I ended up creating a drag persona of my own, which lead me to question what it was about drag that made me want to do it.

Developing a love for what I was creating, I came across several groups of women doing the same thing, for reasons so saddening but very relatable to myself; women using drag as a safe form of sexual expression, creating alter egos stronger than their usual selves to be able to battle the cat calling, the harassment, all in the safety of their own groups.

Having shared this experience, I treasured my new found drag ego and used her to create a new sense of self, alongside the other models I had the pleasure of sharing the journey with.

As a publisher and Community Interest Company, TRIP is dedicated to showcasing unconventional stories that may otherwise be overlooked. We aim to give a platform to the unseen and a microphone to the ignored. Expression is a right and should not be confined to those that can afford to work for free; which is why we strive to support a diverse range of creatives in their work, commissioning exciting projects and creatives to visualize them.

Founded as a magazine in 2013 by photographer, Dean Davies, TRIP was born from a desire to provide opportunity and exposure for image-makers across multiple platforms and medias. With a focus on people and place, in 5 years TRIP gained a loyal readership, and became known for its honest image output and representation of the underrepresented, featuring over 800 image-makers from across the world through a website, 5 magazines and 3 free zines.

As TRIP C.I.C. we are not interested in profiting from the activities of the organization, and re-invest all income back in to consecutive publishing projects.

Dean Davies
Alfie Allen

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