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June 9, 2014

Transcending Gender & Stereotypes of Transgender People. {Photos}

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A recent Time cover story featuring transgender actress/activist Laverne Cox shed light on the recent increase in transgender awareness.

As author Kathy Steinmetz said in a recent press release, “This new transparency is improving the lives of a long misunderstood minority and beginning to yield new policies.”

Cox’s appearance on the June 9th cover marked the first time in Time’s long history that a transgender person was ever featured on the cover. Indeed, less than a decade ago, many people would have a hard time naming a public transgender person much less say that they knew one. However, Ms. Cox and many other everyday, ordinary people are slowly changing the stereotypes and misperceptions that continue to surround transgender individuals.

A striking new photo series called, “Transcending Gender” by Syracuse-based photographer, Rhys Harper, is hoping to add to the public’s knowledge and, in particular, those who may not be familiar with transgender issues.

In his artist’s statement and mission statement, Harper explains:

The media and society in general is starting to discuss trans issues more, and there is more awareness, but so often, the focus of discussion is about bodies and what is underneath our clothes, instead of who we are and what we have to offer the world. 

This series celebrates our lives. We are doctors, students, parents, bankers, brokers, musicians, photographers, children, and teachers. We are free spirits, creative souls, world travelers, cat rescuers, and performers. We are lovers, fighters, hopers, dreamers, movers, and shakers. These photographs intend to capture us in ways that celebrate who we are. . .

The intended audience for these photographs is not the transgender community. It is for everyone. . .

Indeed, the striking black and white photos beautifully shows how transgender people come from all walks of life and may include our friends, co-workers, family members or even ourselves.

When looking at these photos, I am struck by how Harper managed to capture both the beauty and humanity of his subjects. My hope is that people who have never seen or known someone who is transgender will recognize that transgender people are just like everyone else with hopes, lives, families and dreams.

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Editor: Travis May

Photo Credit: Used with permission. Check out Harper’s work here: http://www.transcendinggender.org/

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