Transcending Self

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About two years ago, I began photographing transgender and “gender-expansive” children and young adults in the United States and Europe. I wanted to ask this question: “Who are we beyond ideas tied to our gender?” The answer is critical not only to the transgender community, I believe, but to everyone.

In the younger participants, I have found self-assuredness and confidence; they are clear about who they are. In the older youths — especially the nonbinary ones who identify as both genders, or neither — I see a willingness to break free from boxes society puts us into. In all of them, there is creativity and compassion for peers and strangers alike. — Annie Tritt, photographer

Zak, 13 | Isle of Wight, England. Transgender boy.

“When I was 12, I realized that transgender was a thing. It made sense. I’m straight — I’m a straight guy in a girl’s body. I had very distorted expectations, though, and thought that I would be able to have hormones and operations straightaway. The process is too long. I hate looking like this, I hate the body that I have. I want it to transform, and it is wrong that I have to wait until I’m an adult.”

Max, 13 | Bay Area, California. Nonbinary.

“I asked my mom if I could text her something. I texted her that I am attracted to boys and that I feel more girl than boy. Later that year, I found the term nonbinary. It just felt right. I still am often scared of the reactions of people when I tell them. As a trans person who has experienced hate, I want people to understand that nobody deserves to be hated. Everyone deserves love, regardless of race, gender, sexuality.”

Azaj, 17 | Oakland, Calif. Transgender girl.

“It is really different living as myself. Before, I felt like I was always trying to squeeze into jeans that were six sizes too small, but now it feels like I am in jeans that were made just for me. I no longer wake up hating myself or this world that does not understand me. I want to make sure the world does not take as long as it did to be open to gay and bi people. I hope that I am able to help girls like me, so they don’t go through what I did. I want to slay the gods 100 times over doing things that trans girls have never done. I want to be the face of equality.”

More on the photographers website…

Comments 39

  1. “Who are we beyond ideas tied to our gender?”

    What is deeply ironic about this statement, in an article about transgender people, is that the existence of transgender people is in conflict with the notion of gender-as-social-construction. We absolutely must come to terms with the fact that gender differences are real, even if not everyone fits into the dominant pattern.

    This is why there is a difference between “non-binary” people and transgender/intersex people. I think it would be more productive to talk about intersex people than “non-binary” people. The latter are being talked about today because feminists think that masculinity is a social contruction (one which they say needs to be destroyed). Anyways, the “non-binary” women I’ve known are still very much women in every single respect, with still quite a lot to distinguish them from males.

    There’s also a possible argument that some part of gender dysphoria is a byproduct of the dissolution of gender role distinctions in our present day society. In the days of gender segregation, a feminine male could live within the women’s world, and be recognized as a “non-man”… whereas today, in our aspirational gender-neutral world, must they work much harder to achieve recognition as female?

    1. You do realize that Horselips will say that they are simply messed up in their minds and need a brain transplant?

        1. ….I was gonna say wait till Horselips see this! Done, diddly, done!
          ~Go Horselips😂

          (Please…no disrespect to transgenders, this just be in house prattle.)

    2. So much to reply to, but I’ll just comment on your biggest error “transgender/intersex” are not the same thing, but entirely different. Intersex people physically are intersex, and not a 100% either one- they are usually more towards one gender than the other and choose to identify as such. There population size is about the same as redheads.

      Gender by any definition is not as clear cut as you wish it to be, or as it obviously is for you.

  2. Sorry, Zak, I’m 100% for all transgender rights and you look like a healthy, handsome boy, but it’s not wrong that you have to wait to make any “irreversible” life-changing decisions. No ones brain, character or sexuality is fully formed at 13; I think you should be allowed to go ahead with anything that can be reversed by the time you’re at least 18, but not before. Stay strong; everyone’s life sucks at 13.

  3. None of these people know a fuck about biologya and/or sociology/anthropology and they use scientific language like if they were experts and they also claim to be “right”. Humanity is coming to an end.

      1. “Rect0r” is showing the same lack of sensibilities that the typical Trump voter showed in the voting booth. You might recognize him by his alter-ego: Rectum.

        1. The lack of sensibility doesn’t mean those people are educated. Now, ignorant people want to tell us what we should think and what we should respect or “tolerate”. And again they don’t know a shit about science, how are they supposed to be right?

        2. Is this all you “progressive” liberals have? Ad hominem arguments? Offending me and comparing me to a “bad” reference like Trump or his supporters is the way you face a painful truth?

          1. Ok, lets have a conversation. First start by defining “those people”.

          2. Deluded ones who believe they are “trans” and all the others who support them, none of the know a fuck about science I as said but they want us, rational people to “understand” but they can barely understand what reality is

  4. @RectOr

    Are you gay? If so, please explain it. Explain how you have come to accept that you are gay.

    1. Rationality not fairy tales and it is also know (by science of course) that humans among other species are bisexual by nature

      1. You didn’t really answer my question about you as in are you gay? My point is that either gay, straight, insert other, it really does come down to what is happening in the brain. At least in a huge part of it. Don’t forget that “rational” scientists and philosophers said that “gay” didn’t exist. For them nature was an absolute duality, male, female and nothing else. They were in deep denial of what nature itself was openly displaying for anyone to see… as long as the eyes were opened but more importantly the mind also.

        Like it or not, our society is at a crossroad. We finally have to accept that, one, sexual orientation is a fact. Two, that sexual orientation isn’t simply straight and nothing else, or that it isn’t simply straight or homosexual. Sexuality never was simply one shade of sex. Attraction is just that, attraction. It never was said attracted to only one thing.

        Some have their sexual attraction set in stone, no matter how much they would try or not to experiment with other kinds of sexual attraction. Meanwhile you have others that are polymorphous. If it breaths, (and sometimes not even LOL) they are willing to have a go at it.

        Now here is where it gets tricky. Sexual identity… the whole transgender thing. I myself have problems with that. Not because I deny its existence but because of it making me uncomfortable. See? It’s the “alieness” of it that makes it so hard to comprehend or accept.

        We have been programmed to believe in male and female and nothing else. Well, except what we see in animals, insects and plants. But humans? Hell no, right?

        Gay kids have committed suicide after having been forced into behavior correction. This is how deeply they felt about who they really believed/felt/knew they were. The same goes for other sexual orientations and gender identities.

        Oh, by the way, I’m gay. I know because I was in denial for over 40 years.

        1. Paradigms shift due to scientific research not just because a bunch of retardesd say they “were born in the worng body or shit like that. What you people can’t and won’t see is how science is now used as a trick, a threat against humanity, maybe you have heard about postmodernity and stuff like that, we are in the era of biopolitics and biopower and this kind of trans things are used to legitimate power just like the new wave of feminism is doing it. We are living a new dark age where reason is being blackened by beliefs, modernity hasn’t ended yet, we are on a downward spiral and why? Ask all those morons who claim that everything we know is a myth, a “social construct”. Our end is near

          1. Strange. What I was and am seeing is an awakening to our true nature. Gender is simply not set in stone. Like I said above, nature gives us more than ample proof that it is extremely varied.

            Ironically you cite science as the enemy agains’t us. It’s not because it would want to muddy the borders of genders but rather because for a very long time it has been against muddying those lines. Just like religion, gender identity was dogmatically either male or female. We are now, finally, realizing that this isn’t so.

            Now about knowing where “gay” comes from, as it being possibly more nature than nurture, there is a wonderful mini series made by John Barrowman titled “The Making Of Me”. Here’s the link.


            Now all that I hope is that an other series be made on gender identity.

            Oh, you seem to be deep within the rabbit hole of conspiracies. While conspiracies are far too often true they have a second quality no one seems to see. They tend to blind you to actual realitys where some conspiracies are done right in front of us.

      2. @Rectum:
        “Paradigms shift due to scientific research not just because a bunch of retardesd say they “were born in the worng body or shit like that.

        First, Before you go off on a “horsey’s tangent,” you seriously need to think [at least] twice before you sling words like “retardesd” [retarded? or retards? … and … worng] — and make yourself look just like the words you’re trying to use.

        Second, if you’re trying to offer up some sort of scientific hypothesis or even more hypotheses, it doesn’t advance your public image when you try to use “scientific phrases” like, or shit like that.

        Third, you should try to at least suggest you have some sort of empathy for the subjects you’re, … how do I put this in a term you can understand? … ridiculing.

        As far as a very young person saying “[s]he was born in the wrong body,” — how do you account for, say, a 5 year old saying something like that to his mother and father? Two houses down from my home is exactly that — a 5 year old boy that not only says that, but “insists” his parents give him some clothes of a girl — dresses, etc. and insists on growing out his hair just like a girl — not to mention showing the mannerisms of a young girl and wanting to BE a girl when he goes to school and in public.

        A 5 year old doesn’t know anything about scientific research paradigms, he just knows how he feels inside and how he wants to present himself to not only his family, but to the rest of the word, as he sees and experiences it.

        Sorry, but you’d make a very lousy “scientist” … not to mention psychiatrist or psychologist.

  5. It i easy to thinnk so if you ignore how society and science in general works I mean, most of your thoughts come from common sense, your common sense like all those people who use their common sense and the things others tell them to think that they were born in the wrong body and that they identify as “the other”now, even scientists have common sense but it is a different common sense not the same a moron’s. Things are not like they appear

  6. “Second, if you’re trying to offer up some sort of scientific hypothesis or even more hypotheses, ”
    And “retardeds” was a typing mistake
    A 5 year old is not a scientist, it is the object that science and scientists study
    But @Penboy you are just acting like those liberal morons, you have no basements and yet you think are being a hero by being rude, how does that make you “different” than me?
    I WON’T feel ampathy for anyone specially if this political correctness shit makes makes morons bully rational ones.
    I would never feel empathy for people like Trans and the rest of the “comunity”

    1. Except, you were the one calling others “retards.” If you expect to have others take you seriously about science, then don’t post as a retard … and, while you’re at it, re-read my post again about a 5 year old and empathy.

      “I would never feel empathy for people like Trans and the rest of the ‘comunity’ ”

      Who do you think will take you seriously after that comment? No one.

        1. @Rectum:

          Let me get this “straight” … the way you would teach sex education might go like this:

          Grab a bitch by her hair, drag her to a private spot … or even public so your buds can watch you bang and rail her with a rubber so you won’t have to deal with a fucked up family or some shit like that. It’s right there in the science book. You won’t need to worry about rape if she smiles at you first.

          Is that about right?

  7. That is the problems with liberals, they barely studied and now they give their opinions like some kind of experts about life and whatever but if someone disagrees, they just attack like beasts using their instinct, very similar to religious bigots. Science is the opposite to feelings and beliefs that is the reason beings like you @Penboy won’t never understand they fucked up reallity

    1. @RectOr

      You are either a troll or are a complete idiot. Or it could be worse. You actually mean what you have said here and therefore I see no place for you here of even a landfill dump.

  8. Ignorant liberals will always think like you say, idiots.
    Once you study biology and/or sociology we can discuss this topic

  9. @Rectum:

    “Rationality not fairy tales and it is also know [sic] (by science of course) that humans among other species are bisexual by nature

    You state THAT [bold] and then continually rail against trans* humans attempting to use the very PROOF that disproves you (by your own words) — science and bisexual.

    But, here’s the real proof that you don’t know what you’re talking about and the root of your ignorance: “’progressive’ liberals; liberal morons; Ignorant liberals”. Your own words belie your true ignorance — you’re so hung up on “liberals” and use them [us] as your “ignorant” scapegoat because you refuse to believe what you personally espouse: science. Come back to visit us when you finally recognize that you’ve drunk way too much of that far-right Kool-Aid. Stop reading the bullshit horsey keeps putting out — you’re sounding just like him, except you’re doing it drinking Coronas and eating burritos.

  10. Racism is how you solve problems, hypocrite?
    This is a proof of how motherfucking ignorants who could barely finished high school answer.

    1. @RectOr

      Isn’t that the same bunch that said that homosexuality was a disorder?

      Anyway, you do seem that have seriously messed up issues for calling out Penboy a “”fa**g””. Did you mean faggot? Or just fag? Honestly, distance has its privileges because if I was in front of you I would be busy breaking each and every bones in you in alphabetical order. You are seriously pushing the limits here.

  11. Nothing that a good pistol can’t fix and thet is an irrefutable proof
    Doctors are wrong then?

  12. Trans or not, Max has a beautiful butt (perfect in those jeans) and for me it is enough although I prefer him as a girly-passive gay kid with a beautiful bubble butt atracted by males…

  13. Transgender people, I don’t know what’s it’s going on in the mind, I think this boy should stay the same, I think he’s really a cute boy. You know if God wanted this boy to be a girl he would have made him a girl, If this boy has a penis he is a boy, God made him a boy no matter what he thinks or says.

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