Chloe Aftel —GenderQueer
A few years ago, a friend and I were talking about the GenderQueer movement and I wanted to explore it further on my own. I never felt like my gender identity fell neatly into one group or another, so I was curious what this discussion was grappling with. I had shot 3 portraits when I was assigned to shoot Sasha Fleischman for an editorial piece.
In the fall of 2013, Sasha was set on fire on a public bus because they (Sasha doesn’t use s/he as identifiers) wore a skirt with a men's shirt. Sasha identifies as agender, others in the series as non-binary, gender non-conforming, etc. After this terrible event, more people were willing to be photographed and take a stand about the basic human rights that should be extended to any person regardless of gender identification. This evolving culture consists of those living outside or in between the gender binary, refusing to define themselves as strictly male or female.
This series was shot in a meaningful place for each subject, most often the home to give the viewer a sense of who each subject is and how they live. It is an exploration of what this movement looks like and what it means for each person involved. This series employs a variety of photographic styles, from portrait to reportage, in order to best capture the spirit of the subject. It is not about imposing a photographic style on the each person but rather letting who they are inform the image as it is created.