Women Photograph: Women Photograph is excited to announce our 2021 project grants and scholarship for women & nonbinary photographers.

https://www.womenphotograph.com/grants-2021/

“Women Photograph Project Grants

These $5,000 grants will support photography projects — either new or in-progress — from visual journalists working in a documentary capacity.

Five grants are available, at least one of which will be earmarked for a nonbinary or transgender photographer….

Women Photograph + Getty Images Scholarship

Women Photograph has partnered with Getty Images to award a $10,000 scholarship to a student focused on photojournalism. The scholarship funds can be used for tuition, camera equipment or other education costs during the 2020-2021 school year.…”

Commentary

Coming across the Women Photograph organization’s 2021 project grants and scholarships just recently is rewarding as I made supporting 100% equity in creativity and communications a lifelong personal project dating back to my first negative experiences at a “university” “art school”.

Those scare quotes are intentional – in reality it was an art department at best at the time and not an art school as I had imagined it, and the institution in which it was located was then still a polytechnic or institute of technology with pretensions to being an actual university some day, but without the academic rigour and equality of opportunity that status implies and demands.

Women Photograph was founded by Vietnamese-American documentary photographer Daniella Zalcman at a time when the idea of full equality of opportunity for female photojournalists with their male counterparts in the mainstream media was still new.

That was four short years ago at time of writing and it is pleasing to observe how much the idea of equity in visual journalism, encompassing stills photography and moving images, has begun to take hold.

The idea of attaining equity in creativity and communications still has some growing and evolving to do, however.

Words such as diversity, inclusion, plurality and representation are becoming increasingly common in this effort.

However, I wish to put forward one word that I have yet to see be included in any recent awards, grants, exhibitions, gallery shows, festivals or scholarships.

It is a word that stands for at least 2% of the human population, equating to about 156 million of the 7.8 billion people projected to be the number of humans on Planet Earth by the end of this year, 2021.

That word is intersex.

If your response on reading that word is to ask “what is intersex?” then those who have been doing their level best to suppress the fact that intersex people exist have been succeeding.

To put it simply, “intersex people are born with sex characteristics that don’t fit typical definitions of male and female”, according to the United Nations’ Free & Equal web page on intersex awareness.

Women Photograph, like other such efforts at attaining equity or at least equality, has been doing a good job at inclusiveness in its aims and its language, but the word intersex has yet to appear there, and it needs to.

The Free & Equal intersex web page states that “up to 1.7 percent of babies” are born intersex, but testimony from frontline medical staff makes that number look like an underestimate.

“Women Photograph is a non-profit that launched in 2017 to elevate the voices of women* and nonbinary visual journalists…. *We believe that gender is a spectrum. Women Photograph is inclusive of a plurality of femme voices including trans, queer and non-binary people. <3”

Women Photograph is getting it right on the gender identity and sexual orientation front, with words such as women, non-binary, trans and queer, but the matter of sex and sex characteristics seems to have escaped notice.

Intersex people can have any gender identity and any sexual orientation, same as non-intersex aka endosex people, but they are unique in the many and various variations of their sex characteristics.

Sex is not limited to just XX and XY, to just male and female, and the existence of intersex people proves that, which is why their existence has been so heavily suppressed since the time of the Emperor Constantine with further deadly persecutions by religion, colonizers, the British Empire, eugenicists, the Nazis, Dr John Money of Johns Hopkins and the medical-industrial complex throughout history.

Intersex people themselves have been denied the right to proclaim that they exist, to express themselves and to tell their own stories as well as the stories of others as seen through intersex eyes and intersex lenses, as it were.

Intersex people have been denied public voices, public faces and public spaces for far too long.

Right now, for example, I know of only two out intersex documentary photographers, photojournalists or visual journalists, but reason dictates that there surely must be many more intersex people who would be if given the chance.

I want to see intersex people being given that chance in praiseworthy efforts like these by Women Photograph and many, many other fields including documentary and feature films on both sides of the camera, journalism, the struggle for human rights, at all levels of law reform and more, much more.

The centuries of intersex shaming, silencing, excluding and erasing must end right now.

I want to see intersex inclusion, full intersex inclusion with full knowledge of what intersex actually is and what it entails and what intersex people have been enduring and fighting against for centuries since Emperor Constantine, becoming the norm and not the exception, now and forevermore, in all areas of creativity and communication.

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