Izzi Kessner conducted a research project which attempts to offer insight into transgender circus artists’ experiences. After studying the history of gender in Traditional circus, and then examining the state of Contemporary circus today, it becomes evident that there is an absence of representation for transgender circus artists. This absence is made apparent through a critical analysis of Contemporary circus productions with regards to their use of gender.

Six professional transgender circus artists also participated in interviews about their journey in the circus industry. Their words were also transcribed into a circus act, combining artistic explorations with lived experiences. This research offers a case study to understand transgender identity and experience in circus, as well as a manual for inclusive practices to support all performing artists.

As a project for Pride Month 2021, Izzi ventured into the world of video essays, creating this final video on Cirque du Soleil's original production "Zumanity," and on LGBTQ representation in the circus world as a whole.

Izzi Kessner was invited to partake in a filmed conversation between generations of LGBTQ people for ABC7's official LA Pride TV Special. The two hour conversation was reformatted into a twenty minute video, in which they express their experiences as a young LGBTQ individual, especially growing up in Los Angeles.

Izzi Kessner was selected as the Juried Award Winner for the Under 18 Category for their film "Roses and Thorns." The film explored LGBTQ love with the tagline: How do you process after breaking someone's heart? Roses and Thorns explores the journey of queer love, acceptance, and communication post-heartbreak through aerial silk and acro-dance.

Because of this selection, Izzi Kessner participated in an interview on the Circus International Film Festival Instagram Live, which can be viewed here:

Working with Circus Talk, Izzi Kessner interviewed young transgender circus artists from around the world. They focused on the mentality of young trans artists, highlighting their dreams and fears for their futures in the circus industry. The article was released to celebrate Trans Day of Visibility on March 29, 2021.

Izzi Kessner created this zine to be released alongside their short film "Impostor Syndrome in Circus: An Exploration through Voices" premiering on December 6, 2020. This zine was created through testimonies from circus artists around the world on their experiences with Impostor Syndrome. The zine was designed by Izzi Kessner. Their hopes for this zine was to help other circus artists currently struggling with Impostor Syndrome.

Photo by Verse Concepts