Breaking Out of Dark Glittering Corners
Juliana Huxtable’s poetic style is bold, unapologetic, and very in your face. She proclaims her words with all capital lettering that refuses to ease up for the reader. She writes proclamations from her soul and throws them like confetti in the faces of her audience. “UNTITLED (RED LIGHT)” shouts edicts of disenfranchised humans and artificial intelligence:
EXTATERRESTRIALS AMONG US
DISENFRANCHISED SO- CALLED CITIZENS
ID PHOTOS, GAPS IN FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE
HUMANOID VOGUING REPLICANT VOGUING DEITY
But Huxtable’s humble Texas beginnings are a sharp contrast to her fearless crafts dabbling in writing, DJing, and art. Her life is a testament to curating and finding comfort within one’s own identity—not the identity given by a heteronormative society.
Juliana Huxtable describes her childhood as “Christian and very Texan” in an interview with VICE. The now New York-based artist and writer saw both the best and worst of these concepts growing up as an oddball in the Lone Star State—where she would ironically live as a lone star herself before moving North. What started as a well-rounded background in the church with both parents in the picture crumbled into rubble by the time Huxtable reached fifth grade. Her parents divorced and Huxtable experienced bullying and racism in school. Abuse took root when her mother began taking out her frustrations on her children.
Additionally, Huxtable’s struggles with the spectrum of gender identity south of a rigid binary Bible Belt intensified her troubles. “Born intersex and assigned the male gender,” her conflict in finding comfort and security in her identity spanned for years. An eating disorder gripped her as her body developed a more feminine figure. The transformation from the familiar, idyllic Julian to the esoteric Juliana put Huxtable in a war against multiple archaic social constructs. “Being trans wasn’t a viable idea,” at this point in her life, and she felt “that the only option [she] had was either to be a freak or a weird boy.”
It comes as no surprise that after her move to New York in 2010, Juliana Huxtable learned to break in a newfound sense of self. It started in the dark, glittering corners of the online word and stretched into the the clothes she choose to wear—despite her mother discarding the garments in secret. Eventually, she would restrict contact with her Baptist family in favor of exploration and artistic celebration of her uniqueness and individuality. Her body of work— visual, audio, and written—exemplifies the embrace of the unconventional. Whether she challenges the conventions of race and gender or offers an intimate glance into a personal conviction, Huxtable’s modus operandi remains masterfully daring. She becomes the “STROKES THAT BREAK BOUNDARIES REGULATED BY OPTOMETRY” described in “THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT CANNOT BE DISPUTED.”
And refuse to dispute, she does. Her existence is a reflection of her published body of work—diverse, multi-faceted, unconventional, and a testament to change. She’s a comfort to the scattered, marginalized folks who shy away from the confines of tradition and an intimidating force to those who fear people different from themselves. Though she now resides in New York, her Southern roots shaped her and are worth mentioning. In a poetic turn of events, she would eventually extend a peaceful hand back out to her mother in order to share her new life with her.
Likewise, Southerners of all ages, identities, and skin colors should seek to seal the rift between modern inclusiveness and beloved Southern traditions in art and literature. Like gender, Southern culture is fluid, bold, and beautiful. And in Huxtable’s words, we are all more than
“THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT CANNOT BE DISPUTED”
How do you work to seal the rift between modern inclusiveness and beloved Southern traditions? Tell us in the comments.
Image credit: Flickr