Aiden Simon

Interviewed By Evan Zavidow

Aiden Simon, a Brooklyn-based visual artist, details a life spent moving among different spaces both geographically and in terms of community. He discusses his experiences living in various cities in the US, seeing changes in queer and trans narratives over time, and the evolution of his artistic practice. Throughout, he expresses appreciation for the varied systems of support in his life, and for the increasing acceptance of gender variance in queer spaces, while also criticizing the rapid gentrification of New York City. (Summary by Jamie Magyar.)

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Park Slope (00:19)
early memories (00:36)
skiing (01:04)
Connecticut (01:46)
Stanford (01:48)
parents (01:49)
moving (01:55)
California (01:57)
Los Angeles (02:01)
Palo Alto (02:04)
siblings (02:12)
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wedding (02:51)
parents (03:23)
Chicago (03:25)
supportive family (04:12)
moving (05:26)
Palo Alto (05:56)
Connecticut (06:01)
elementary school (06:04)
middle school (06:05)
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queer culture (06:49)
high school (08:22)
sister (08:24)
sports (08:27)
first relationship (08:36)
dating (08:37)
2002 (09:34)
Connecticut (09:37)
supportive friend group (09:55)
school environment (10:04)
military (10:39)
coming out (10:53)
femme (10:59)
military transgender ban (11:39)
support system (12:03)
best friend (12:15)
nicknames (12:36)
travel (13:28)
North Carolina (13:30)
beach (13:31)
the Outer Banks (13:54)
art school (14:05)
Maryland Institute College of Art (14:06)
college (14:07)
Baltimore (14:08)
transitioning (14:14)
roommates (14:24)
coming out (14:51)
trans support group (15:57)
older trans woman (16:06)
dating (16:23)
stealth (16:34)
hormones (17:11)
healthcare (17:20)
real-life experience (17:26)
doctor (17:32)
John Money (17:33)
medical gatekeeping (17:38)
gender expression (18:42)
trans support group (19:20)
older trans men (19:52)
intergenerational relationships (20:57)
Baltimore (21:31)
gay bookstore (21:37)
gay center (21:39)
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (21:41)
Chase Brexton Health Services (21:52)
art school (22:21)
photography (22:23)
drawing (22:33)
sculpture (22:34)
grad school (22:39)
Chicago (22:41)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (22:42)
grandmother (23:00)
museums (23:06)
Temple University (23:11)
Tyler School of Art (23:14)
Philadelphia (23:16)
ceramics (23:24)
photography (24:04)
self-portraits (24:11)
high school (24:12)
Mika Rottenberg (25:09)
globalization (25:17)
women's labor (25:19)
bodies (25:22)
video art (25:26)
Stanford (26:19)
internship (26:21)
Michael Foley Gallery (26:24)
Chelsea (26:26)
Bushwick (27:08)
McKibbin Lofts (27:09)
close friend (27:21)
art market (27:26)
grad school (27:33)
Chicago (28:31)
New York (28:36)
Simon Preston Gallery (28:44)
Callicoon Fine Arts (28:50)
queer artists (29:34)
housing (29:57)
Broadway & Hewes Street (30:19)
loft laws (30:37)
tenants (30:40)
management company (30:44)
2014 (32:00)
Bed-Stuy (32:08)
Ridgewood (32:17)
neighborhood change (32:26)
McKibbin Lofts (32:43)
2010 (32:48)
bedbugs (32:51)
New York Times (33:07)
gentrification (33:30)
best friend (33:46)
art galleries (34:10)
gentrifying neighborhoods (34:21)
Berlin (34:42)
rent stabilization (34:58)
housing instability (35:36)
moving (36:17)
New York (36:59)
favorite possession (37:23)
grandmother (37:36)
travel (38:25)
Taos (38:34)
the Rockaways (38:53)
grandmother (39:03)
physical spaces (39:32)
communities (39:33)
Chelsea (40:40)
best friend (40:41)
Fashion Institute of Technology (40:44)
professional artist (40:58)
Chicago (41:11)
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trans photography (41:29)
partner (42:07)
Sydney (42:40)
queer art show (43:56)
Chicago (43:57)
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sculpture (45:46)
LMAK (46:41)
Lower East Side (46:44)
New York (47:34)
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Chicago (48:19)
Boystown (49:36)
queer community (50:04)
body politics (50:38)
New York (51:23)
gay male spaces (51:52)
conversational shift (52:44)
2011-2013 (52:53)
gender variance (53:01)
media (53:27)
early 2000's (53:34)
normativity (53:40)
2011-2012 (54:04)
Metro (55:02)
Jewish (56:16)
queer trans identity (56:56)
gender expression (57:37)
boss (58:26)
childhood photographs (59:08)
coworkers (59:58)
Christmas (01:00:14)
Ani DiFranco (01:01:11)
lesbian (01:01:28)
femme gay person (01:02:11)
clothing (01:02:32)
oral history (01:04:20)

Transcript

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Interview Data

Date of Interview
August 16, 2017
Location of Interview
Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York
Place of birth
Tucson, Arizona
Occupations
Artist & Gallery freelance - Photo, media & archives
Birth Year
1988
Gender Pronouns
he/they
Rights Statement
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About This Collection

NYC Trans Oral History Project

NYPL's Community Oral History Project is teaming up with the NYC Trans Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and share oral histories from our city's transgender and gender non-conforming communities. 

We'll be training a community corps of interviewers to collect these largely undocumented oral histories in order to build a lasting and expansive archive on NYC transgender experiences.

About the NYC Trans Oral History Project:

We are a collective, community archive working to document transgender resistance and resilience in New York City. We work to confront the erasure of trans lives and to record diverse histories of gender as intersecting with race and racism, poverty, dis/ability, aging, housing migration, sexism, and the AIDS crisis. 

We are inspired by the public history activism of the ACT UP oral history project to build knowledge as a part of our anti-oppression work. We believe oral history is a powerful part of social justice work, and that building an alternative archive of transgender histories can transform our organizing for transgender liberation. 

You can listen to interviews, search interviews tags (like #genderfluidity #self-knowledge #gentrification and #queerfamily), and soon read transcripts. We hope the interviews and tags will preserve and proliferate new knowledges about trans and gender non-conforming experiences.

Content warning: Many of the interviews here include personal accounts of violence, sexual assault, abuse as children, or trauma.