The Sun as it Rips Away (2022-present)
Alex Williams waited over a decade to get top surgery. And in the wake of 2022’s overturn of Roe v. Wade and subsequent onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation - they went to Florida of all places to do it. Home of the Pulse massacre and the birthplace of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill - there is something irreverent and potently dissident about the choice to go to Florida to partner with a surgeon whose practice revolves specifically around top surgery for nonbinary people.
Top surgery is a celebration in the queer community. It is as much a gender-affirming and life-saving medical procedure as it is a sacred rite of passage. When a trans or non-binary person is ready, able, and desiring to embody that authentic expression of identity, and thus take up a new role in the community, their chosen family will often rally around to support emotionally and financially, provide care, and celebrate the entrance into a new chapter. New clothes, a toast -the ceremonious closing of one door in favor of flourishing when opening the next.
This sanctity and sweetness of what is one of the most exciting and empowering decisions in a trans person's life, however, is undercut by the backlash of violence facing the LGBTQ community today, often driving such celebration into the shadows. One week after Alex left Florida to return to New York, the state announced a ban on gender-affirming surgery for youth. Alex Williams’ top surgery was a sacred ritual in a small community. They are one person in the 5% of the young adult population in the United States who identifies as non-binary. The act of documenting their surgery is part of honoring this initiation, edifying its legitimacy amidst an oppressive political climate, and expanding the evidenced history of the queer community.