Josh is my second Human of Austin that Responded to My Craigslist Post, but actually, I was the one that responded to zirs* Craigslist post. What started as a shoot to provide Josh with images to add to zirs alternative modeling portfolio became an artistic collaboration to recreate and document Josh's journey of self-discovery. Click to enlarge.
Josh has been an Austinite for about 3 and a half years, a transplant from Denton, TX. Ze came to Austin to pursue a career in theater design. "For me, Austin is a place to explore. I was a part of the independent art scene for three years. I live in intentional spaces where we try to create an urban tribe of friends and support. I try to live consciously."
Josh says that although ze loves Austin, the city needs to work to hold on to its uniqueness. "As Austin grows, it's turning 'weird' into a commodity, which defeats the purpose. By continuing to live in experimental spaces and exploring alternative ways of living - it's not always about getting a condo and a 9-5 job - I can help uphold the Austin ideal."
"If there's something you want to do, there's someone to do that with you," Josh said. "The relationships I've developed and the friends that I've gained are pretty awesome. There's such an amazing diversity among the people in this city - it's a good place to cut your teeth." For Josh, Austin was also a good place for self-discovery. Josh identifies as gender-fluid, or as having a neutral gender, but that hasn't always been the case. "For me, gender is a performance. For years I was performing as a picture of masculinity with bit of queer."
"I then became more comfortable in a queer femininity that didn't try to mask my body, just decorated it the way I wanted," Josh explained. However, that wasn't a perfect fit either.
"Now, I have quit gender. I am way more comfortable than I've ever been. Historically, I've had a picture that I was trying to enforce - how I was supposed to look and behave as a man or woman - but both of these were wrong for me," Josh said. "I had a picture of how I was supposed to behave as a queer, which was closer, but still not quite right. Now I am no longer holding onto any pictures in my head."
Josh provided me with the names of some of the LBGTQ resources available to Austin residents.
Waterloo Counseling - providing affordable counseling services
Violet Crown Counseling - counseling specific to LBGTQ issues
Cheer Up Charlie's and Genuine Joe's Coffee are queer-friendly social spaces
QUEERY - an upcoming app "connecting the queer community, one person at a time"
*Josh prefers to be identified with ze as a replacement for he/she and zir/s (pronounced “zeer”) for him/his/her/hers.