The difference one letter can make

Photo by Parker Kay

[C]hristopher Lacroix and his roommate are watching Degrassi. Suddenly, Lacroix’s roommate yells at the television, “It’s not a noun!” A character has just confessed that they are a transgender.

A transgender. That small letter “a” made a huge difference to Lacroix’s roommate, who is transgendered themselves. The Ryerson photography studies graduate says that his roommate inspired a project that he has now been working on for two years.

“That got me thinking,” Lacroix says. “It’s something that bothered me, I couldn’t put my finger on it.”

Lacroix, who now works under the name of afallenhorse, began Iv(A)N two years ago. The project will be shown at this year’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in collaboration with New Media student, Calvin Winter.

Winter says that he wanted to work with afallenhorse after seeing the early stages of the project.

“The message of it, I agree with,” Winter says. “People can say things that affect people in negative ways without even meaning to.”

Iv(A)N will combine video footage of Nuit Blanche visitors with text that they feel describes them most. Participants will select descriptions from an iPad, which will then correlate with their videos.

afallenhorse says that he hopes the interactive experience will get people thinking about the way that they use language.

“I think when people use language against you, it can negatively shape your identity. I think I’ve experienced that,” he says. “This is partially my attempt to fight against those experiences that I have.”

The artist says that there is a huge difference between saying “a transgender” and “transgender” – when we describe ourselves as “a” something, we objectify ourselves.

afallenhorse says that if a woman described herself as female rather than a female, the word would become a part of who they are, rather than what they are.

“I hope it just lets people become aware. I want them to be really cautious of the fact that words have power,” afallenhorse says. “It may be really subtle, and we may not know this, but they have power. It can affect the way people see each other and the way we see ourselves.”

Iv(A)N will take place at The Gladstone Hotel in Room 214 on Sept. 29.