I have found photographing, writing, and participating in the lives of people on the crossroads of gender identity to be a liberating experience. The people in these photographs embody the concept that anatomy, sexual orientation, and gender identity are separate components of a human being: they influence but do not dictate who we are, how we relate to sexual partners, or to ourselves.
People whose bodies, partners, and sense of self differ from the majority, are not a small minority of disturbed, dangerous degenerates as many tend to assume. On the contrary, they are the ones asking the important questions: Why are we the way we are: what is nature, what is and nurture? Beyond anatomy, what does “man” or “woman” really mean? Is it possible to live without gender definition? Finally, what is the essence of a human being?
9/23 | Tash, 2009. A university student in Portland, OR, Tash identifies as “genderqueer”: neither male nor female. Some people, especially younger transgender youth, do not believe there are just two sexes, or that they need to jump from one to the other.
12/23 | Kiwi, 2002. As a student at New York University, Kiwi Grady identified as “genderfluid” and organized students from other schools to come together for “T-Parties”, and be politically active for GLBT rights.
13/23 | Tommy, 2003. Tommy Wang is a Chinese-American who came to the US with her mother when she was 8 years old and began his transition from female to male at 16. When this picture was taken, he was a college student and political activist.
14/23 | Katie, 2009. I was drawn to Katie’s tattoo when I met her at “Southern Comfort” and asked her if I could photograph her. She had just moved from Alaska, and is in the early stages of transitioning from male to female.
16/23 | Moe Moe, 2008, Myanmar. As a country that is over 90% Buddhist, there is greater tolerance for transgenderism.. Moe Moe lives in a village where she sells necklaces to tourists and is unlikely to be able to have enough money to have surgery, or even get enough education to get another job.
18/23 | Ciaran, and Alex, 2003, in Brooklyn, NY Touching fingertips, a romance was just beginning. Ciaran identified as a female-to male, Alex as a “glitter boi”, a person who enjoys playing with gender.
22/23 | Jamison Green, 2001, at fantasia Fair in Provincetown, MA. Jamison is a well-known female-to-male activist, writer, and the father of two children, through his former partner, who identified as lesbian.