A boys' camp to redefine gender

Slate
|
July 16, 2013
Issues: 

Over the past three years, photographer Lindsay Morris has been documenting a four-day camp for gender nonconforming boys and their parents.

The camp, “You Are You” (the name has been changed to protect the privacy of the children and is also the name of Morris’ series), is for “Parents who don’t have a gender-confirming 3-year-old who wants to wear high heels and prefers to go down the pink aisle in K-Mart and not that nasty dark boys’ aisle,” Morris said with a laugh.

It is also a place for both parents and children to feel protected in an environment that encourages free expression.

“[The kids] don’t have to look over their shoulders, and they can let down their guard. Those are four days when none of that matters, and they are surrounded by family members who support them,” Morris said.

Morris has stated that her photographic goal for the project is “to represent the spirit of these boys as they shine.” Some of the ways in which the kids shine is through the talent and fashion shows at camp that are popular and for which the campers come well-prepared.

“Some practice for the talent show all year, and others create their own gowns with their mothers or friends of the family,” Morris said. “The focus and enthusiasm is really pretty incredible. Also, it can be very emotional for the parents, especially the families who are new to camp and are experiencing this kind of group acceptance for the very first time.”