Helena Lea Manhartsberger | Katharina Neuhaus

Lia is a transgender, sexually radical activist who struggles with depression and likes BDSM. Lia’s gender is a political issue, something she is faced with every day. The traumatic experiences of her life gnaw at her; depression is a constant companion. Lia dares to fight her pain with pain. With partners she can trust, she works through her feelings in BDSM sessions. The cane, candle wax and rope enable her to experience moments of ecstasy and peace of mind. Lia sees her own body and living out her sexuality as forms of activism. On her social media channels, she shares her experiences and provokes her audience. The responses express hostility, but also support and gratitude. Lia sticks to her conviction: better uncomfortable than submissive. From 2018 to 2019, photographers Helena Lea Manhartsberger and Katharina Neuhaus visited Lia several times with the camera and accompanied her in her everyday routine.

  • Discrimination
  • Identity

*1987 in Innsbruck, Austria
Helena Lea Manhartsberger lives in Hanover, where she works as a freelance photography and multimedia journalist. She completed her studies of International Development at the University of Vienna and took up Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts in 2015. Manhartsberger critically examines stereotypes and racist forms of representation in photography. Her work concentrates primarily on topics such as gender and identity, group dynamics and social movements at both the regional and international levels. www.helena-manhartsberger.com 

*1989 in Werne, Germany
Katharina Neuhaus works as a freelance film-maker and writing journalist. Since the beginning of 2020, she has been a volunteer at Central German Broadcasting in Leipzig. Neuhaus studied Literature and Cultural Studies at TU Dortmund University; she completed her master’s degree in the subjects of Literature and Media Practices and American Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In her journalism work, she focuses on various gender images and the wishes and dreams of refugee teenagers.

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