Damien Johnson’s new video confronts transphobia within dating

Australian musician Damien Johnson has partnered with members of Brisbane’s trans and gender diverse community to create a bold music video that aims at further breaking down transphobia and normalizing the idea of dating between transgender and cisgender individuals.

The video, which releases on March 24, ahead of International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31st) depicts a young, transgender woman (played by transgender actress Stevie Low) preparing to go on a first date with a cisgender male, and also includes real testimonies of local transgender people on their experiences with dating cisgender individuals.

Damien received funding by the Queensland Government and Ipswich City Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund earlier this year to create the project, which was directed by Ipswich film maker, Jackson Stapylton.

Johnson said that the idea for the project was birthed from the discovery of his own unconscious bias and prejudices.

“I was using a dating app one day and swiped-right on the image of a woman I found attractive. We matched, but then when I read in her profile that she was transgender, I noticed a feeling of apprehension and hesitancy form within me, which wouldn’t have been there had the woman been cisgender,” Johnson said.

“This experience led me to get in contact with a number of transgender friends of mine and ask them more about their own dating experiences. Through these conversations I become aware of the abuse and struggles that many of them had encountered when trying to form relationships with cisgendered partners…particularly when those partners were straight males,” Johnson said.

“That was the catalyst for this project, because I strongly believe all humans need and deserve connection and love, and that cisgendered people, particular males, need to be challenged by members of their own community to move beyond their own preconceived ideas that may fuel transphobic attitudes”.

The film clip features a self-produced cover version of White Town’s Your Woman, which Damien created in his home studio in Ipswich.

“It felt this song was particular fitting in relation to this issue as the hookline of the song is, ‘I could never be your woman’, and I believe that for many transgender women today, they are presently being met with attitudes that refuse to accept them as women – and this needs to change”.

Take a look at the powerful video. 

OIP Staff

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