The purpose of this project is to celebrate a group of people that are beautifully diverse, brave, and determined to live authentically. The images depict transgender people and those closest to them: their partners, parents, and children. Each participant was asked to write their own caption to accompany their portrait.
The trans* narrative as portrayed by mainstream media is oversimplified, and generally not told by anyone who is actually part of this community. Images of trans* people are sensationalized, generally meant to serve as some kind of punchline. With Stepping Forward, I intend to portray this community honestly and gently, allowing each individual to take ownership of their story and communicate what they feel is important for the world to know. The trans* community doesn’t look one specific way. Trans* people and those who love them don’t lead one specific kind of life. There are people intimately tied to this community who don’t fit the kind of stereotypes the public is fed. Each of these participants is stepping forward to be seen, to tell their unique, significant stories.
Since we’re sharing stories, it’s only fair to share my own. A little over a year ago, my partner came out as transgender. Processing what that means for me and for our life together has been intense and complicated. I’m so incredibly proud of him for doing what’s right for him, and for working to become the best and most authentic version of himself. There have been moments where I’ve been excited, frustrated, nervous, and proud all at once. I’m definitely taking a lesson in patience, and learning that it’s ok to give myself time to process it all. This is what I do know. I love my partner more and more all the time. It brings me joy to see him happier in his own skin. At the end of the day, those are the things that matter most.
All donations fund the production and exhibition of this project. Plans are underway to bring Stepping Forward to other cities, and create a printed book. We want to reach as broad an audience as possible. Your support is deeply appreciated.