Students tackle issue of gender identity by cross dressing administrators in photos

IMG_1397If you have walked past the ICC this morning, you might have noticed certain posters that differ from the typical Red Square fare. These are result of a student project spearheaded by Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Giuliana Cucci (a stage name), which aims to engage the Georgetown community on gender identity and expression issues as well as to exercise the right to free speech on the Hilltop.

At first glance, the images appear to be simply an homage to Andy Warhol classics, such as the Marilyn or Mao prints. Upon closer inspection, the subjects of the multi-colored portraits are those quite familiar to the Georgetown community: Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, President Jack DeGioia, Rev. Kevin O’Brian, S.J., Pope Francis and John Carroll. Each person featured has been clad in apparel and hairstyles of the gender opposite from their own. Each poster also contains a quote from the featured figure as well as Rev. James Walsh, S.J.

So what message does an eye-shadowed Jack DeGioia send to the Georgetown community? Lloyd and Cucci have dual mission.

First, they hope to confront Georgetown’s usually adverse response to unconventional gender identity and expression. To be clear, gender identity refers to one’s personal identification to a gender, which may or may not match with their biologically determined sex. Gender expression is all mannerisms and grooming that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine.

In an email to Vox, Lloyd cited instances of friction between Georgetown and gender and sexuality issues: “We reflected on…the continual rejection of the ‘Rainbow’ Magis Row house, and other official statements about Gender, like Todd Olson’s quote in last semester’s Voice feature.” Lloyd also spoke to hostile verbal responses from the community and the resultant anxiety he and Cucci felt.

Second, Lloyd and Cucci intend to exercise their right to free speech as Georgetown students. While creating these images, the two felt a fear of what the administration’s response would be. That feeling of fear drove them to evolve the project to involve both gender and free speech.

Lloyd wrote, “Because we felt this fear, we knew it was necessary to put out the images to push through that self-censorship bubble. The project then took on a dual-meaning, gender expression AND free speech.”

Cucci, the artist behind the posters, explains why Warhol was her muse of choice: “Warhol’s repetitive normalizing pop art juxtaposes a queering of gender very nicely.”

At the end of the day, what do Lloyd and Cucci hope to accomplish with these provocative posters?

Lloyd wrote, “We want to raise awareness about issues of gender and gender expression on campus. We want to encourage other groups to use the absurd, the arts, and truly free expression in future advocacy. And also, we want to glam up campus.”

Featured photo courtesy Thomas Lloyd

Photo in Red Square: Isabel Echarte/Georgetown Voice

23 Comments on “Students tackle issue of gender identity by cross dressing administrators in photos

  1. I find this to be incredibly offensive. I understand that gender identity is an issue but defacing our school’s president is actually shameful. This is absolutely ridiculous and I’m so offended that I hope someone rips this thing off the wall in Red Square. There is such a thing as going too far.

  2. Lord almighty, “defacing our school’s president”? I think he would be offended that you’re making him God-like with your iconoclastic, misplaced devotion. Biggest sin in the Catholic religion is idolatry, sir. Men are made to be mocked and this is in good humor.

  3. you may want to correct your “sir” to ma’am because this is a woman commenting friend. This is absolutely not in good humor, considering the fact that I know President DeGioia very well personally I consider this appalling and I’m positive that he would be offended. Additionally, it is a good thing that I’m not Catholic, I’m Eastern Orthodox and we actually do use icons even though what you said makes absolutely no sense because I’m not turning him into a God-like figure I just have respect for my elders, superiors, and authority. I stick to my thoughts that this is taking the gender issue way too far. I am one of the biggest advocates for the LGBTQ community but this is incredibly offensive and insulting if you know the people that were defaced personally, which I do unlike most people on campus.

  4. @ Anon – We are waiting for someone to rip them down, thats when we bring out the blown up versions :)
    Also, is adding makeup to someone’s face “defacing it”

  5. i think it’s really fucked up Thomas. I think you take everything too far. Just stop, it’s seriously extremely offensive.

  6. Also, really, offensive?

    The fact that changing someone’s gender presentation or expression is “offensive” is entirely the point of this project. Administrators have been portrayed as dinosaurs, stick figures, whatever. without a single batted eyelash. This is entirely selective outrage, that comes from our sometimes subconscious lack of comfort over gender-non conformity. Objectively, why is a man wearing makeup or being portrayed as doing so any more offensive than photoshopping him next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa or with a dead president?

    Also, you can’t call yourself “one of the biggest LGBTQ community allies” and say that our statement about gender is grossy offensive. Read: Being a Better Ally – The Hoya, because allyship: you’re doing it wrong. Allyship is about listening to the communities you are allies of, even when its hard or you initially disagree. Its about them setting that agenda.

  7. Thomas, I would find it offensive if President DeGioia’s image was altered in any way, it’s not about gender but you can play the “gender card” if you’d like, because you always seem to be playing that card. Professor DeGioia or any other person of high authority at this University does not deserve to be disrespected by having their image altered in any way. I don’t think that any of it is funny, this isn’t me singling out you or the LGBTQ community. You have no respect for authority and will do anything to push your agenda.

  8. I get the statement they’re trying to make, but I do think it’s offensive to force a gender presentation on someone like that, even if it’s just dolling up someone’s photo. It goes against the point that (I’m assuming) they’re trying to get across — that folks have a right to define their own gender expression (yes, even old cis white dudes) without fear of reprimand or ridicule. Would you do this to a trans person? A woman and/or a person of color? These white authority figures may be easy targets in your mind, but think about the standard you’re setting for folks who will say “oh, so this is okay to do now.”

  9. Wait, so is Giuliana Cucci a stage name used by Thomas Lloyd? Or are they separate people? Not clear from the post, though this is The Voice, so I’ve come to expect such piss-poor journalism. If they are separate people, then why no school and year listed for Giuliana? And why not insist on using her real name? (Right, I forgot: this is just a blog, so no journalistic standards.) If they’re the same person, then clearly Giuliana isn’t just a “stage name” for Thomas because he’s using it as part of a socio-political campaign, not theater. In this context, I would call it an “alias.”

    Regardless, the poster above me is exactly right. If you’re allowed to dress Jack up to look like a lady on a whim, then I can flippantly ignore the fact that you choose to dress yourself in a way that’s inconsistent with your naturally-determined gender.

    Finally, being an “ally” shouldn’t mean just passively “listening to the communities you are allies of” and letting “them set[] that agenda.” If being an ally is anything like partnership, then there has to be some give and take. And if LGBTQ folks won’t listen when their allies say “too far,” then they’ll find themselves with far fewer allies. Good luck changing social norms then.

  10. ^ Then I would say you were never really an ally to begin with. Allies don’t actually get to set the agenda.

    Good job on this!

  11. I disagree with the idea of allies “setting the agenda.” In fact, I get the feeling that that’s exactly what’s happening here.

    A seemingly white cis gay guy is trying to “fight for” folks of varying gender expressions, but he’s doing it by making a (literally) clownish spectacle of transgender issues. That’s what I see when I look at this. If that was not the intention, these folks need to rethink this project.

  12. @This is stupid

    The post reads, “spearheaded by Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15) and Giuliana Cucci (a stage name),” so to translate, it means it was spearheaded by Thomas AND Giuliana. “And” implies two separate people. I’m not sure what you found unclear, but yes, they are two different people.

  13. nice try gays but you are doing more harm than good with this misguided (and paternalistic) effort to ~help the cause of trans* folk. next time try letting trans* people speak for themselves and being supportive in that way rather than trying to speak for a community of which you are not a member.

  14. Gender identity =/= gender expression. These drag portraits have nothing to do with transgender issues, since these are two different things.

  15. As a point of order. Thomas was working with someone else, who prefers to remain anonymous, and goes by the name Guiliana Cucci. She is genderqueer. These paternalism claims are silly on 2 ground.

    1) Gender expression =/= identity….

    2) Guiliana is genderqueer, Thomas though a cis man is known to experiment with unconventional expression frequently

  16. dayum hunt-y, jack degoia be lookin’ fishy

    but does he tuck?

  17. OK, well I support equality for all to the extent it is true EQUALITY, rather than demanding special treatment for niche groups. By that I mean I’m 100% supportive of gay marriage, legislation targeting discrimination, etc. But if you guys say I’m not an ally just because I don’t want to cede a far-out social agenda to gays/trans*/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-yourselves, then I guess I’m not an ally. I’ll go back to voting Republican. Sorry my support for most of your agenda wasn’t enough.


  18. Ironic that you claim to represent “moderates” when you have such an extreme lack of sense of humor.

    The core of this, in case you haven’t read the title, is also free speech. I hope you are a proponent of free speech and are aware of the limitations, hard and soft, on free speech at Georgetown. These posters are also designed to show free speech protects these kind of humorous illustrations.

    These images are also intended to show how physical image isn’t and shouldn’t be definitive of one’s identity. Obviously, you won’t see President DeGioia and Dr. Olson in drag in the near future, nor will you see Fr. O’Brien in a keffiyah. By your example obviously, though, people still believe image should be a limiting identifier, which it should not be.

    It is my opinion as a self-identifying moderate that this isn’t egregious disrespect. It’s humor with a purpose, and I disagree that you, “ThisIsStupid,” claim to represent the “moderate” opinion. I also find it amusing you go with ad-hominems, calling The Voice “piss-poor journalism,” and consider yourself “moderate.”

  19. #fuckmeimfamous my comments made an appearance on The Hoya’s coverage of this project. #stilloffended

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