May 31, 2013
“It’s always the very expected trans narrative in the newspapers; it’s always some horror story,” says L. Garnons Williams, photographer for the savvy trans-style Tumblr blog The Test Shot, which pairs photos of a transmasculine subject alongside a treatise on that person’s style. Except instead of profiling their subjects, Williams and business partner Jamie Pallas insist that the trans folks they document write their stories themselves. Telling our own stories is an opportunity rarely granted to trans folks in mainstream media. Misgendering, sensationalizing, and otherwise undermining trans bodies is something of an international journalistic pastime. The New York Times has done it, and so has the Guardian across the pond; the New York Post was banned from this year’s GLAAD awards for particularly transphobic content, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently came under fire for disrespectful coverage of a trans murder victim (trans women — and trans women of color — are the most maligned segment of the trans population by far). Even the less egregious stories, the ones that reinforce binary identities or simplistic narratives like “born in the wrong body,” render diverse trans identities invisible.