A beautiful, simple project from Australian photographer Soraya Zaman,
American Boys has been making waves on art circuits both here and across the pond.
Zaman’s images tenderly capture America’s trans-masculine community, documenting people from all walks of life. Thoughtful, empowering and sexy, the images represent a wave of encouraging change across the land, in the face of less progressive popular opinion.
Take a look below!
Meet Amari. Amari has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve met. He’s a family man and gave birth to two of his kids before transitioning. It was of equal importance to him to have his own babies as it was to transition.
When I met Chase, they where humble, kind and a devoted loving parent to their kid. But Chase is more then just a great dad, they are also one of those remarkable people who have decided that their life’s purpose is to make a difference in this world. A Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Chase works in the LGBT and HIV project and focuses on trans related cases to seeks out justice for the trans community . Do you remember the Chelsea Manning case where she came out at trans while under military custody? Or the trans student Gavin Grimm who was denied access to the boys restrooms at his school? Chase was the lead council for Manning and a lawyer on the team suing on behalf of Grimm. They are fighting for trans rights from inside the legal system itself. A system that is currently chipping away at these rights across the country. Chase said to me “…it is the responsibility as a human being to build empathy for others. To situate yourself within a broader structure and to question things, to question why things are, to question whether something is equitable, to question whether there is justice and to have a role in building something better. “
Meeting Dominic in person, I was struck by how quiet, shy and soft he is, in fact I ended up doing so much of the talking! But one thing that really stood out to me was his commitment to achieve his transition goals. He is doing it alone, from paying for his hormones to crowd sourcing funds for top surgery and he’s been going it alone since 16. This perseverance is so admirable and I’m sure there are others who share his story. He spoke of the patience needed on daily basis but also how everything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Elijah is a kind and compassionate quiet achiever. He grew up in South Texas within a Christian Baptist family. When he finally came out to his mother, she knew that their family might attack him with scripture claiming that being transgender is against God’s will. So they both studied the bible and found verses to debunk what they might throw at him. Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, nether salve nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”
Emmett is a transgender Mormon and a self proclaimed rebel in his own way. Emmett has had to reconcile his faith in the Lord with his gender identity and the road has not been easy. The verdict is still out as to whether trans people will be accepted in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Yet Emmett lives every day as an active and devout member of the Church in full realization that on any one day, he might get ex-communicated. More then being an active and vocal member, Emmett has been a vocal proponent for trans people within in the Church. Indeed he was featured in a documentary on @Vice when he had his top surgery and openly discussed the risk of him being ex-comminuted for having the surgery . At every step of the way, he is pushing the envelope within the Church so he can be a role model for others and show everyone that it is possible to be yourself and still have your faith.
From a small town in the south, I think Ethan is incredibly brave living visibly as a trans man in an environment where he stands alone. He does it with tenacity and a f*ck you attitude I can’t help but love.
Gabe was the first person I photographed for the American Boys Project. I was drawn to for his originality, earnest vulnerability and amazing style. His openness when we met and spoke on his journey of transition set the tone for this whole project. Thank you Gabe.
When I hung out with Jaimie, who btw is an incredible musician, he spoke to me about his experience of back handed compliments. People saying to him, “Wow, you’re so hot… for a trans guy! Even I’d have sex with you!” like he should be especially honored these people find him attractive. Plus where is HIS consent in all of this.
Lazarus laughed with me about having basically been every letter in “LGBTQ” and now just wants to be identified as a unicorn. When I met Lazarus, they were in the middle of doing a thesis on #blacklivesmatter, focusing on the murders of black trans women. Lazarus is looking to highlight the connections that have always existed between black and indigenous queers and how this connection has been a wellspring of incredible activism. “The black lives matter movement was started by three queer women, people always forget that, people always think it’s for men. The official platform is incredible, super trans and queer inclusive and yet cities only rise up when black men are killed and not when we lose our trans sisters.” Lazarus’s thesis couldn’t come at a more important time.
ory is a quintessential Californian with chill vibes, lives by the beach and rides his skateboard. When I met him, I admired his undeniable calm confidence and self assurance in who he is. He’s a take me as I am, or leave it kind of person.
Rufio! What an amazing bundle of body building bear like brilliance! Rufio is so full of life and spirit. He’s also a staunch feminist, especially with his experience of white male privilege that came with passing.
American Boys is out on April 2 nd, published by Daylight Books, available on Amazon.
You can follow Soraya Zaman on Instagram @sorayatzaman