First there was the soaking up of dyke fragrances: black leather, dildos, whips. Pictures. In the early 90s there was the “Clit Club” in London. There were themes every evening, e.g. “Switch Night” – masculines switched to feminines, Doms to subs.

Dildo

“ ... the dildo is a synthetic element which politicises sexual practices. It reminds us that sexuality is performance, that the physical, so-called body is also a product of a synthetic, biopolitical technology, that our gender (just like the dildo) is a prosthetic connection.”*

Then came the moustaches. Club “Naive”, 1995. “Packing” is what we called wearing a soft, longish thing in the crotch. And the “Piss Packer” was a thing you used to take a piss standing up.

Deep Voice

At the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in London in 1996 I met two people being followed by a TV camera. “Transgender” was a new term. I could identify: Jordy Jones and Stafford Stafford were “women” before they started injecting testosterone, adopting gender-ambivalent first names and a masculine style of dressing (dandy: yammy) – without considering plastic surgery. Del had started it. For my 40th birthday he gave me a shot as a present.

“T”

Muscles, appetite, clitoris and libido all started growing. After about five months I had a “male” voice. Growl. Stubble. These experiences were inspired by Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. We saw ourselves as cyborgs and compared our “baby dicks”.

I never became very bearded. It doesn’t run in the family. Practical, because after 20 years as “Hans” (not a “man”, but a “he”), I took the name “Ashley” when I turned 60.

A “She”.

Ashley Hans Scheirl

Are cyborgs the creatures of a post-gender world? Viewed as such, it is understandable why the transcommunity would find them so fascinating. The transgender artist Ashley Hans Scheirl became known for her own gender transformation which significantly influenced her artistic work. The artist has been featured at the documenta and is currently a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. She is credited with providing vital impulses and generating international attention for concept art in Austria. And also with contributing a very personal text to our Magazine.