Photos by Chloe Aftel
In light of marriage equality, gender identity is new topic to many people, and an evolving culture refusing to define themselves as strictly male or female. In a shoot commissioned by San Francisco Magazine, photographer Chloe Aftel began an ongoing series titled, “Agender”. The series is a set of intimate photos that challenge sexual identity, and beautifully sheds light on the complexities of the genderqueer and neutrois communities.
The theme for this photo series was sparked by a tragic act of violence, after Sasha Fleischman, an 18-year-old San Franciscan who identifies as agender, was brutally set on fire by a fellow student while sleeping on a bus in November of 2013. The cruel and unfortunate incident prompted a small, but nationwide discussion in mainstream media regarding gender binaries and transgender identities. Thus leading Aftel to Fleischman’s home to photograph the new icon of America’s genderqueer youth.
In hopes to raise awareness of this diverse and often-overlooked community, San Francisco magazine published Aftel’s photos, and the portraits are beautifully intriguing. Some of Aftel’s subjects identify themselves as gender-fluid (with a fluctuating gender identity), some as gender-queer (a more general term for any gender identity other than male or female), some as agender (those who do not identify with any gender), and some as transgender (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both).
Check out the following photos, including one of Sasha, and find more of Chloe Aftel’s work here.