My current project ‘Are You OK?’ documents the faces and stories of trans and non-binary youth living in the United States who are ready to stand up to political annihilation. Flanked by their supportive families, a diverse group of outspoken and deeply loved youth present their strength and joy to the world in a revolt against the country’s attempt to erase them – an antidote to the misinformed, overused imagery of desolate trans youth we often see in journalism.
As a queer man of trans experience, and someone raised in a family of two Holocaust survivors, this work has become a contemporary archive of the disappearance of my community and a cathartic way to say that I am (and we are) still here. It is a social and ethnographic study, leaning on repetition for scientific effect. Participating in the creation of this work is dangerous– we meet in hiding behind buildings with extreme discretion in states that want us dead – yet the process of acknowledging each other offers a kind of healing within the frame. I have anonymized the parents to infer that the only way to have a living trans child is to support them.
Before each portrait I do a short meditation exercise with each participant where we close our eyes, breathe into our most empowered selves, and show up together for a moment of self-actualization. In the past two years I have photographed and interviewed over 130 trans and non-binary youth in over half the states in the country, and will continue this series into 2024/25. Audio recordings are included in exhibitions, and on the website.