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This exhibition of photos of mothers and their trans kids are adorable

This exhibition of photos of mothers and their trans kids are adorable

Mother Molly (right) and her trans son, Ned shared their story as part of Transparent Love

Molly doesn’t remember the day her son came out as trans. Was it a typical school day? Was Eastenders on that night? Did it rain?

But what she does remember is him crying in his bedroom one day.

‘It had just been a normal day,’ she said, ‘but the time he came out was at the end of a long period of him being sad.’

For months Ned had been melancholic. Topics of gender he’d react in tears to, such as gender-specific swimwear while on a family trip to the beach one day. Molly had no clue why he was sad. She had to know.

‘I followed him as we walked-up the stairs into his room. We were in his bedroom, he was upset.

‘He told me, “You all think I’m a girl, but I’m actually a boy.”

‘It was a relief,’ she said. ‘We finally knew why he had been so upset.’

A lawyer of 10 years, a mother of 13, a local of East London for over 30 years. The 38-year-old is the mother of 13-year-old Ned, who came out as trans last year.

Lisa (right) and Alex | Picture: Amanda Searle

Molly and her son are one of ten pairs of mothers and their trans children to be featured in a London exhibition.

Commissioned by All About Trans, a project working to promote positive portrayals of trans people ran by charity On RoadTransparent Love is an exhibition open at the BFI Flare Festival.

The festival, which is dedicated to vibrant viewings of LGBTI cinema, runs 21 to 31 March, with the exhibition inside.

But the final day is significant in the UK. Not only is is Mother’s Day, it’s also Trans Day of Visibility.

‘It was a huge privilege’

Iain McCallam of All About Trans clocked that Mother’s Day and Trans Day of Visibility both fall on the same day. The gratuitous calendar arrangement inspired the idea, and he knew a photographer that was perfect for the job.

Emily (left) with her mother, Emma | Picture: Amanda Searle

Clicking her camera across the country, from Doncaster to Liverpool, photographer Amanda Searle admitted to Gay Star News ‘It’s not an area I would have probed into myself.

‘But when it started to talk to the children and their parents, I realized its potential.’

With just two weeks to pull the exhibition together, the deadline loomed. But Amanda had drive. ‘I just had to go for it! The passion of the project. It kept me going.

‘In the last few days I was heading up all across the UK to get it up on the wall. It really took a life of its own.’

‘Just normal people’

Trans children have, in recent times, found more and more inches of newspaper columns and minutes of TV broadcasts dedicated to them. Non-stop.

The playground becomes political, as members of the media and public alike pummel the pavements to put a stop to the notion that children can be aware of their gender at an early age. That trans children cannot exist.

Yet one study found trans kids as young as three become aware of their gender. And outside of studies and statistics, there are real trans kids living their lives, with mothers, fathers and guardians with them.

Catrina (right) and Sam | Picture: Amanda Searle

A sentiment shared by Amanda: ‘Whatever you’ve read about it, until you actually meet and spoken to these children… it was a huge privilege.

‘It’s my job to show what other people feel. To get them to feel that thing to. Trying to portray the families completely normalize their situation.

‘They are parents and children. As a parent you would do anything to make your children happy.

‘It has not been an easy path for any of them. These people are just normal people trying to be happy,’ she pauses for breath, ‘just trying to live.’

‘Still some way to go’

Emerging out of the exhibition is a theme that noisily dominates the photographs; the silent everyday.

Oonagh (left) and Izzy | Picture: Amanda Searle

They are mothers. They are children. Take selfies together, play in parks together. It’s dull and everyday, but that is the point.

‘We’re hoping that by sharing these intimate portraits of mothers and their children from across the UK, it will give people a glimpse into the ordinary, every day reality of their lives,’ said Nathalie McDermott, Co-founder of All About Trans

‘We know there’s still some way to go towards greater understanding of the experiences of trans children and young people and their families.’

Nathalie hopes that the photographs will go to show that ‘ultimately, trans is just another human experience.’

See also

Has a shampoo ad ever made you cry? This one about trans kids will

This storybook for trans kids wins 2019 Stonewall Book Award

Misgendering trans kids can constitute child abuse, Canadian court rules