Diversity is the single most important American virtue we have to our name. At a time where inclusivity within the media is soaring, it’s important to understand what it means to be able to give a voice to those suppressed. Though this is a time of great acceptance, being different in a very religious part of the world can still bring judgement upon the slightest of quirks. I wanted to learn more about the growing trans community within Arizona to help shed light on their struggles and what it truly means to be apart of a brave and bold group.
About a year back I became friends with Josh Globke, a beautiful landscape and portrait photographer who now lives up in Flagstaff and is constantly showing me the wonders of sarcasm and his love for snakes. Josh was the first person I thought of when I started this series and has continuously helped me with bringing it to life. Josh came out his sophomore year of high school and has been on “T” (testosterone) for roughly 9 months.
Josh’s leg tattoos. One reading the word, “boy”, a constant reminder of who he is.
Josh’s old bathroom. A reflection of who he is and how far he’s come.
His first tattoo, “UGLY”.
“In the beginning it was for scar-less self harm, now it’s something I like to do to remind myself that I’m in control of my body” He told me.
The second person I was able talk to was my good friend Cora’s mom, Casey. She was so generous with her time and after shooting we talked about cinema and film cameras until the sun finally set. In the early 90’s Casey studied cinematography and I was so privileged to be able to watch a short film she had directed on 16mm. Casey has been transitioning for the past 3 years, here is her story through photographs.
Casey has never felt like subscribing to the everyday gender norms. She wears lip gloss but feels no need for added makeup.
She is a mother, a wife. Strong, loving, and generous.
She told me while combing her hair, “I’m okay with my hair loss. I don’t like wigs, they’re too uncomfortable, hair loss is natural so why try covering it up?”
The trans community is growing as more and more people feel comfortable with coming out; but even then, some people within the community see the rise as a problem. Stating that some people are “transtrenders” and do it for the attention and the need to be accepted by the LGBTQ+ community. Gender expression has been and will always be a large part of the culture we live in. That being said it is 100% a personal relationship and should be something you value about yourself.
If you’re someone like me, who isn’t trans but continuously searches for ways to be an ally, do your research. Talk to the people around you who you know are transgender and ask them how you can be an ally to them. Always try to learn and be open to new ideas. And most importantly, as someone who has the privilege of being able to be heard, speak up for trans-brothers and trans-sisters when they feel suppressed. Be kind, and open minded. Be loving, and help spark change.