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11 intimate portraits of the transmasculine community

11 intimate portraits of the transmasculine community

Caden - one of the trans men in Soraya Zaman's new American Boys book

A three-year odyssey across the United States to document the lives of trans men reaches bookshelves this month.

American Boys by photographer Soraya Zaman presents what its publisher describes as ‘intimate portraits of the transmasculine community.’

Rufio from Atlanta, Georgia
Rufio from Atlanta, Georgia – aged 27 and six years on testosterone (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

Zaman is an Australian non-binary, queer photographer based in New York. Through their work, they primarily explore notions of sexuality and gender.

Reflecting on the collection of 96 photos, Zaman says: ‘The binary days and the antiquated stereotypes of what it means to be born a girl or boy, are finally coming undone.

‘It is time we acknowledge the human race is more unique and special than these strict and simplistic ways of being which are not relevant to everyone.’

Amari from Mount Dora in Florida
Amari, 33, from Mount Dora in Florida. He talks movingly in American Boys about explaining to his young children of his plan to transition (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

Unique stories and distinct stages of transition

Zaman travelled to 21 states to photograph and interview trans men aged between 18 and 35. Their subjects were each in distinct stages of transition. Zaman also includes their Instagram names.

Aodhàn from Boise, Idaho
Aodhàn from Boise, Idaho (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

Zaman believe that social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have helped to unite and change conversations around trans and non-binary genders.

Besides presenting their subjects’ stories, American Boys also includes essays and a timeline on the advancement of LGBTI rights in the US. Its publication coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Many regard the riots as a key moment in the LGBTI rights movement in the US. They resulted in the birth of the modern Pride movement.

Trans military ban and reaching out for support

Shane from Hollywood, California
Shane from Hollywood, California. Amongst his deployments, Shane served in Basra, Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2011, before coming out publicly as trans in 2011 (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

However, American Boys’ publication also coincides with more concerning developments. Last week, to the dismay of many, President Donald Trump’s ban on openly transgender troops serving in the US military came into effect. The ban could potentially impact 13,000 serving troops.

Tyler, from Port St Lucie, Florida
Tyler, 21 from Port St Lucie, Florida – who explains why getting bottom surgery was important to him (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

‘The transgender military ban is a devastating blow to all trans individuals who have served, currently serving and those who were looking to join,’ Zaman told Gay Star News.

‘It’s also a further affront to the transgender community at large. And everybody who believes in basic human rights.

‘People who are affected by this ban, please reach out to community, friends and family who support and care for you. And if you know someone affected, check in to see if they are OK.’

Chella, from Brooklyn, New York
Chella, from Brooklyn, New York, after three weeks on testosterone (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

See more images below

Elijah from Huntsville, Texas
Elijah from Huntsville, Texas – who found verses in the Bible to help his transition to his Christian Baptist family. ‘Galatians 3:28 —“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.’ (Photo: Soraya Zaman)
Shae, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Shae, Grand Rapids, Michigan, aged 23 and six months on testosterone, pictured with their wife (Photo: Soraya Zaman)
Lazarus, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lazarus, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Photo: Soraya Zaman)
Zander, Phoenix, Arizona
Zander, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona: ‘Being trans isn’t something that I’m super-upfront about. I need to get really comfortable or super-close with someone then I don’t mind sharing that part of me, but in general passing, it’s not anything I’m upfront about or post on social media, etc.’ (Photo: Soraya Zaman)

American Boys – Photographs by Soraya Zaman (@sorayatzaman), is published by non-profit organization Daylight, and is out now.

All images copyright of Soraya Zaman from the book American Boys published by Daylight Books.

See also

Transgender dad on life with wife and kids, while coming out as trans

After Trump’s ban, student loses military scholarship because he is trans