Transgender artist, 72, to talk about ‘new found freedom’ in Barkingside

Transgender artist Margaret Pepper, 72, from Woodford Green, with her artwork. Picture: Eastside Com

Transgender artist Margaret Pepper, 72, from Woodford Green, with her artwork. Picture: Eastside Community Heritage - Credit: Archant

A 72-year-old transgender artist is to tell her “powerful” story at an LGBT+ History Month exhibition tomorrow.

Margaret Pepper, from Woodford Green, is to present a documentary exploring her life as a married man living with a secret, along with her own works of art, at Fullwell Cross Library, High Street, Barkingside.

It was only until the artist’s wife went into care that Margaret, who was born Maurice Pepper, decided to transition.

“Soon after the operation, I started painting and now I paint every day,” she said.

“I just can’t stop. It’s like a celebration. It’s been an explosion of creative energy because my emotions have been released.”

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Margaret, who started painting in 2004, has displayed her work in galleries around London and is looking forward to sharing her pieces in the borough.

She said: “I see the world through someone who is now living as a woman for years, analysing people and society in a way that most people probably can’t.

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“I am 72-years-old and I am rather critical of the world as I see it. The art is an expression of my inner feelings of new found freedom.”

Charity Eastside Community Heritage (ECH) is hosting the event with Redbridge Rainbow Community (RRC) – a support group for the borough’s LGBT+ residents.

RRC chairman Matthew Walters said: “We are delighted that Margaret has chosen to share her story with us to celebrate this year’s LGBT+ History Month here in Redbridge.

“It’s extremely powerful when individuals share their personal journey to help others better understand the issues surrounding either sexuality or gender identity.”

Cllr John Howard, who will be speaking at the event, said the awareness month was important to the borough’s “vibrant” LGBT+ community.

“There are people all over Britain and in Redbridge that can feel isolated,” he said.

“But months like this give people a chance to share their experiences and increase the community’s visibility.”

The event takes place between 6pm and 7.30pm.

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