Fox Fisher: “Being out is a form of activism”

Trans Iceland has invited the British filmmaker and trans activist Fox Fisher to come to Iceland and do a workshop for those interested in making videos and shortfilms about the trans experience of the health system. Fisher will be hosting the workshop tonight, on the 3rd of August, at Eggertsgata 2 in Reykjavík.

To get to know Fox Fisher and their views better GayIceland contacted them and asked them a few questions. The first one was simply: who is Fox Fisher and how did they get to be known as a trans activist?

Fox Fisher has been very prominent in the campaign for trans awareness for the last five years, but this is the first time Fox will be visiting Iceland even though they have a close connection to the country as their partner is Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, the face of trans activism in Iceland.
Fox Fisher has been very prominent in the campaign for trans awareness for the last 5 years. This is the first time they’ll be visiting Iceland even though they have a close connection to the country as their partner is Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, the face of trans activism in Iceland.

“I’m Fox Fisher, an artist, film-maker and trans campaigner. My work in trans awareness started 5 years ago when I was thrust into the public eye after taking part in a mainstream documentary series called “My Transsexual Summer”, which started a dialogue with the nation. I was at the very start of my medical transition and was fairly vulnerable.

Although the series has a massive impact, I wasn’t happy with my edit, which was the catalyst for setting up “My Genderation”, an ongoing documentary film series. I was fairly new to film, and I picked up a camera, and with another participant in the series, Lewis Hancox, and we started making films about our emerging community. We’ve had great success and our films have been used as resources for the NHS, in educational settings, film-festivals, as well as broadcast on the BBC and Channel 4.”

What is your connection to Iceland?
“I think Iceland is one of the most loved countries on this planet. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like an Icelander. I have always wanted to visit to enjoy your epic scenery. It’s definitely on my ‘bucket list’ as I hear such great things about Iceland. My partner is from Iceland and I look forward to visiting their family farm for the first time.”

What are you gonna teach in your workshop here?
“The film-making workshop is for anyone who wishes to vlog with confidence or make films more effectively. As someone who is entirely self taught, I feel that anyone with a passion can utilise what is around them to create content. This helps people to empower themselves, speak about their experiences of being trans and share information. Confidence is key as well as having a clear message. Hopefully my workshop will encourage more creative film-making. We will be not only discussing all aspects of DIY film-making but the most effective way to get your film noticed.”

“I don’t feel like I was ‘born in the wrong body’ or that I was born a girl … I feel as if my experience is much more complex and doesn’t fit within the rigid categories of men and women, male and female.“

You label yourself a trans activist, what does that entail? How do you go about getting your message across?
“Being ‘out’ as a trans person in this day and age is a form of activism. Actually I don’t label myself as a trans activist. I prefer to say I’m a human rights campaigner with a focus on trans issues.

The form of campaigning is quite varied and includes, talks in educational settings, panel chats, press interviews on various topics, creating my own content via “My Genderation”, making films for larger organisations like TGEU (Transgender Europe), making a kid’s book called Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl and screenprinting unicorns on naked people at the Tate Modern…”

Actually I don’t label myself as a trans activist. I prefer to say I’m a human rights campaigner with a focus on trans issues.
“Actually I don’t label myself as a trans activist,” says Fox. “I prefer to say I’m a human rights campaigner with a focus on trans issues.”

You are in a relationship with Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir, if my sources are correct, and you have said that it is very important to you both to define yourselves as queer and non-binary, why is that so important?

“Yes, your sources are correct! I’ve found a soul-mate for life with Ugla, who I refer to as Owl. We both identify as non binary and have a very similar experience with our identities.

As someone who has defined at some point as L,B & T, I have always inhabited queer spaces. I am proud of my past and my identity. I don’t feel like I was ‘born in the wrong body’ or that I was born a girl or any of that. I feel as if my experience is much more complex and doesn’t fit within the rigid categories of men and women, male and female. There are so many expectations that we push upon people and I just feel like I don’t fit into it or don’t identify with them at all.

So it’s important to us as a couple because that’s who we are and how we experience ourselves, and I think that it’s important for everyone to be able to have a term or an identity they feel comfortable with and everyone should have the freedom and agency to do so.”

“At the moment it seems that if you are beautiful, an entertainer and hetero-conforming, then society has time for you. It’s not good enough … and I cannot rest until every member of our community is supported.“

You are coming to Iceland to participate in the trans people and the health care system effort, what is your experience of the health care system in the UK? Do you think it is doing a better or worse job than the Icelandic health care system when it comes to service to trans people?

Fox has worked on various film projects.
Fox has worked on various film projects.

“I look forward to learning more about the current system and how I can enable people to move forward. In countries all over the world, the rights of trans people are dependent on both legal recognition and social acceptance.

At the moment it seems that if you are beautiful, an entertainer and hetero-conforming, then society has time for you.

It’s not good enough to only accept the ones deemed beautiful enough for mainstream and I cannot rest until every member of our community is supported. That includes all types of intersectionality, including age, race and disabilities.”

How do people who want to take part in your workshop here go about registering and when is the last chance to do so?
Trans Iceland is promoting the events, so if you go on their Facebook site you should be able to find both the event for the workshop and the event for the film making session. I really encourage everyone who is interested in coming and I hope to see a variety of different people from different backgrounds. I specifically encourage people for underrepresented groups to come along so that we can get a fuller picture of the reality and experiences of trans people in Iceland.”

Main photo: Fox Fisher and their partner Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir.

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