This ongoing work documents a range of non-binary identities through collaborative portraits of gender-non-conforming youth. The project aims to inspire and educate viewers to look at the individuals I am photographing outside of gendered expectations, and to reflect on various ways that androgyny can present itself. These portraits also serve as a historical document for the vibrant community that I am a part of.
I began working on this project in 2016, as I was witnessing a rise in trans representation in mainstream media, but did not feel like it accurately represented the diversity of my community. As a trans photographer myself, I want to shift the gaze of cisgender photographers profiting off of trans bodies, and to show trans people having agency over their own identities.
I have been photographing individuals I meet both in my direct community in Canada, as well as through online networking, who identify as non-binary/transgender, or gender non-conforming in a multitude of ways. For each portrait, I conduct a preliminary interview with the person I am photographing and ask them what their ideal self presentation is, and how they’d like to be portrayed. We then create portraits collaboratively in my studio space, or in an environment of their choice. This work is all about intimacy, vulnerability, and care. It is not an objective telling of the truth but rather a love letter to my chosen trans family: showing the beauty that I see in them, and what it is about their existence that inspires me.
I want to live in a world where the gender binary isn’t upheld as an excuse for violence against those who do not fit into it. Non-binary trans people exist - we are here, and we are thriving.