An interview with Florence Jacquet, artist extraordinaire

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    Florence Jacquet
    Florence Jacquet

    Les droits des Trans sont des droits humains.

    We have the pleasure to interview Florence Jacquet (Alias ​​Artsflorence), polymorphic artist, author, artistic director, and others. A free, committed, humanist, feminist, longtime activist for LGBT rights, a fervent defender of freedoms.

    Bienvenue Florence Jacquet, merci de nous rejoindre!

    Planet Trans: You are an artist, feminist, activist. Art is an expressive form of creativity to reach an audience. Do you use art to express your activism and feminism?

    Florence Jacquet:  I have exhibited in various parts of the world and won numerous awards. Naturally drawn from a young age to history, nature, ecology, literature, and the arts. Feminists committed to women’s rights around the world, and gender equality for a better and just world. Humans make culture, just as culture makes humans.

    Art must remain free, just like thought and spirit. Art can express all kinds of emotions and it can easily connect the personal with the universal, the every day with the poetic. Passion, curiosity, courage, nostalgia, and a sense of life are the elements of art. The practice of an artistic activity, mixing the intellect and the manual allows one to free oneself, to evacuate emotions, leading to healings by saying and recounting things, “art therapy”. Not just to be a spectator but an actor.

    In my work, I address the appropriation of one’s body, metamorphosis, tolerance. I like to play with colors, textures, materials, with a nod to comics. In my work I represent strong, independent, non-submissive women, I  speak indirectly of my life, my lives and experiences. The representation of the contemporary woman,
    a rock n roll style, provocative, sensual, full of energy, an invitation to dreams and fantasies. The faces, the look because the look is one of the elements that is full of emotion, everything is in the look.
    I deal with social issues, such as disability, which is universal. Sexuality, prostitution, sex work. Freedom of manners, senses, minds, desires, break down taboos. Dispose of your body and do what you want with it by experiencing the various pleasures. My body is mine, and can be a means of expression. I deal in my work with freedom, discrimination, feminism, tolerance. Exposing yourself is a risk, it is also asserting yourself without just talking about it, I do not limit myself to identifying myself as trans: I am a woman, a trans woman, a human being. I defend equality, freedom (s), tolerance. I try to convey a positive image and message, denouncing and fighting against inequalities.

    (1)The Guardian. (2) Piaf fétish. (3) Crazy. ©Artsflorence/Florence Jacquet

    What inspired you to be an artist? helped you in your own transition?

    Naturally drawn to the Arts from a young age, I got to know the international painter: Emile Mangiapan (a fascinating artist who knew Picasso, Jean Cocteau, painted with Utrillo in Montmartre…), who took me in its adult classes considering that my level was equal to those of adults. Giving me the click and the love for art. It was therefore quite natural that I turned to studies of Arts: École Supérieure d´Arts Appliqués de Poitiers, visual communication, then Decoration in Paris, decoration painter and Make Up For Ever in Paris. I was one of the first to show painting techniques to Franco-Belgian artist Benjamin Spark and others.
    When you’re trans and when you come out, you have to expect rejection. Rejection is part of our daily life. But not everyone is rejected. Rejection, intolerance is not unique to trans people. Learn to overcome fear, your fears and move on. When I started, there was no internet and news resources like we can find nowadays. You had to look alone, and it was extremely difficult in the provinces.
    The transition is an important moment, providing self-confidence, acceptance. The younger you do it, the better for everything. During the transition we are women in the making as defined by Simone de Beauvoir (“We are not born a woman, we become”). We stay the same person (inside), we just become more fulfilled, or sooner we are finally as we always should have been with the transition and gender reassignment operations. Being trans and more particularly a trans woman is much more complicated in the eyes of society than it is for trans men. Violence and discrimination are very different. We must fight, assert ourselves, it is a fight to be ourselves. We are warriors. This new body must make us even more aware of what it is to have a female body in society and to be a female. The street is a patriarchal space, where men do not hesitate to utter sexist, misogynist, harassment, …

    ©Photo Daniel Nassoy.

    Throughout history, equality has been a long struggle for acceptance, and there have been improvements for decades. Where do you see equality in the years to come, are there Terfs in France?
    Society and culture were built by and for cisgender people, who are the majority, and for men. There are various currents of feminism, just as there are various transfeminist movements. Everyone fights against patriarchy, for equality.

    Feminism is a struggle that concerns us all. Inequality between men and women is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of inequality in the world. Feminism must be inclusive, trans women are women, they suffer the same discrimination as cis women, plus being trans: transmogyny. Feminism is fighting for gender equality, against discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, racism …

    Feminism must be done with trans women, as I recalled in a column I initiated for the newspaper Médiapart regarding TERFs attacks:

    Pour un féminisme inclusif envers les femmes transgenres

    “To denigrate, to deny the experience, to ridicule […] is transphobia”. For two weeks, a very virulent debate has animated feminist and transactivist activists on social networks. In response to Marguerite Stern, the founder of the “Collage feminicides” movement, a group of activists wish to put their arguments in the debate on their basic disagreement and the consequences of such remarks on transgender women.”

    Equality like freedom must be universal.
    Let’s not forget that exclusion in all its forms has demonstrated over and over again the darker side of mankind.

    Florence Jacquet
    ©Artsflorence/Florence Jacquet

    Can you give an example of an expressive message regarding feminism and activism?

    Actions against feminicides and violence against women. Collages and rename street names to victims who died from transphobia for TDoR. “A transgender person is killed every 26 hours around the world. Or almost one death per day. TDOR 2019 – Sujets de Société   TDoR 2020, 98% of victims are women. TDOR 2020 – Sujets de Société Féminisme 

    Action qui claque sur les murs de la ville pour TDOR 2020. France. Monde alternatif
    Florence Jacquet
    Hotels ,meditation, tribute to the victims TDoR 2020. To our murdered sisters. Alternatif World
    Florence Jacquet
    Femmage to victims of feminicides, with a skirt creation featuring the names of each of the victims.

    https://www.sudouest.fr/2019/12/26/cette-militante-s-engage-contre-les-feminicides-6997610-953.php
    https://www.occitanie-tribune.com/articles/19280/france-la-revolte-soyons-feminicidophobe

    If you were approached by someone for advice, information what would you tell them?

    Over the years, I have given advice to many people on transition and operations. Avoid injecting silicone into the body, as we have been able to do with some. Inform yourself well, and take the time to make the right choices. Patience, perseverance, benevolence. Be tolerant, if you want to be tolerant of you. Patience, because you don’t have everything right away, but the routes and procedures are considerably simpler than before. Don’t let people tell you that you are unnatural. Fight, never back down, and move on. We must be proud of who we are.

    Who and what inspires you? No one in particular. History in general. Life.

    Has being creative, feminist and activist helped you in your own confidence and personal strengths?

    No. I learned to fight on my own. I come from the world of sex work, and have seen and explored many facets there. I built myself in complete self-determination and owe nothing to anyone. I am a free woman.

    You are in France. How is the French attitude and culture towards trans rights?

    The LGBT community is more and more accepted … by society. Unfortunately, there are still families who reject their loved ones because of sexual orientation or their gender identity. The transgender population is regularly the victim of violence. There is a very strong increase in LGBT-phobic attacks: 36% more lgbt-phobic acts in 2019 in France, compared to 33% in 2018, a continuous increase. Not to mention the many people who dare not file a complaint.
    Live it together. Break down prejudices. It is from childhood that everything is played!

    I would like the transition pathways to be depsychiatricized, the simplification of the civil status change procedure (this is always done in court) to be simplified, or even the elimination of the mention of gender in civil status. Also the integration of trans people in the assisted reproduction procedure. It is high time to raise LGBT + awareness in schools.
    Being trans shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

    What gives you the power? Freedom.

    Where can readers find out more about you and your work and follow you?
    On my site: https://www.artsflorence.fr and Faceboool social networks …

    And on the webmag Alternatif world. https://www.alternatif.world and his facebook page .
    I took part in a video project by artists Gérard Chauvin and Daniel Nassoy, “diversion of minors (background)” on lgbtq diversities which is a collaborative activism project, where I represent the trans community with its colors, which will be presented at the European video dating festival, video instants festival which is a time of the year for international video creation. And other places thereafter.

    Florence Jacquet

    I will be publishing new books in the coming months. And I also work on projects talking about trans identity.

    Where do you see yourself in ten years or more?

    Difficult to answer. I am reminded that I am a miracle girl, that I had to have a lucky star to be here again, perhaps the instinct for survival, the will to live and luck. And all the blows we have had forever forge a personality, we step back in time. While remaining indignant about society, intolerance, violence, contempt, indifference, … You have to live in the present moment. Live passionately. I no longer project myself in time.

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    Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender