A conversation with Ela Xora
TRANSGENDER WOMAN, ANTI INTERSEX GENITAL MUTILATION ACTIVIST
Recorded on 13 November 2020. Duration 53 mins approx.
Ela’s pronouns are she/her or they/them. She identifies as a transgender woman and is an anti Intersex Genital Mutilation activist. Find out what that means to Ela in this episode.
We also talk about the roots of the word hermaphrodite, how the gender-critical movement is far from new, Hippocrates as a gender critical pioneer, the blatant suppression and erasure of transgender and intersex gods – and human beings – in art history and modern museums, and how history is starting to get unmasked.
CW: Please be aware we talk about the myth of Cybele and Agdistis in which there is mention of castration.
“I grew up in a world, in a society, that told me that someone like me has never existed before, and that me coming along and being who I am and dressing in the way that is natural and visceral to me was wrong, or an embarrassment, or a joke.”
TRANSCRIPT [expand to read] – COMING SOON
Ela Xora is an artist from London, who epicentres her work on classics, binarism and horses. Her work has been shown in the UK at the Royal College of Art, Saatchi Gallery, the Museum of classical archaeology in Cambridge and Oxford Museums, as well as internationally.
Xora has a collection of her silver masks being displayed in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, as part of the National Lottery Heritage funded exhibition Beyond The Binary, launching in 2021.
She also formed part of the team that launched Out In Oxford, a permanent LGBTI tour around the University of Oxford’s museums, which received a British Museums and Heritage Award nomination. Out In Oxford is available to the public via a free app.
Xora’s new exhibition Spectrum of Light includes an aural art collaboration with Stephen Fry and art works being created for a transgender and intersex history project at the Royal College of Art.
What we discussed
- Greek, Roman and other ancient transgender/intersex gods: Hermaphroditus, Aphroditus, Cybele, Agdistis, Phanes, Attis
- About the Sleeping Venus/Hermaphrodite statue in the World Museum Liverpool: “…originally showing a reclining hermaphrodite. The male characteristics and the infants around his breasts were removed from the figure.”
- Out In Oxford app
- Beyond the Binary 2021 exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Ela in the media
- PinkNews, June 2020: Trans Harry Potter actor rips up her contract and demands JK Rowling pays attention to thousands of years of transgender history
- Artlyst, April 2019: Ela Xora Unmasks New Intersex Projects At Royal College of Art
- Artlyst, November 2015: Ancient Intersex Deities Unmasked In New Cambridge Museum of Archaeology Exhibition