It’s never too late to be your authentic self. That’s a lesson Christine Beynon can impart: In her mid-60s she came out as trans and began the process of transitioning.
She waited eight years after her wife’s death to do it—her small village in Galway, Ireland, isn’t exactly the kind of place transgender people are embraced with open arms. After so much time, though, she wanted to chronicle her transformation, so she began taking selfies of her transition over the next 12 years.
Now, Beynon is sharing them with the world in “Becoming Christine,” on view through July 1 at the Galway Arts Centre.
“These self portraits range in tone from the painful to the playful,” reads the show description, “from the mundane to the contemplative to the joyful.” They’re accompanied by narration and an immersive sound installation, the result of a collaboration between Benyon and artist Amanda Dunsmore, who recorded their conversations about her journey to becoming a woman.
Originally from London, Beynon has known she was transgender, though the term didn’t exist, since she was 10 or 11.
“I never had many school friends, I wouldn’t go out,” she told Connacht Tribune. “I took up fishing, because that was a lonely thing. I took up cycling; I used to cycle miles and miles, because that was a lonely thing. But you don’t prefer to be alone—you are alone.”
Dunsmore is a well-regarded video artist whose work usually involves politicians in Northern Ireland. But as Benyon explains, “Every time I go outside my front door, it’s a political statement.”
Next year, “Becoming Christine” moves to the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. “My life has been enriched since the exhibition,” Beynon wrote on Facebook. “All because of Amanda Dunsmore had the insight as an artist on seeing my photos that there was a story to tell and to share.”