This Sunday we had a reunion! Two years ago we made a photo for the book INSIDE OUT/ portraits from cross-gender children, in a butterfly garden with seven young kids. These young Dutch gender pioneers are between 7-13 years. Now we made Butterfly Tableau part II. The Dutch children and their parents looked very much forward to make this photo because we all know it’s so important to tell families all around the world the positive story about gender identities. International media tells mostly about suffering and struggle because journalism is about being critical.
As an artist, I think every story you tell with your photos has to give benefit to this world. It’s all about compassion and your cooperation with the people in your stories. Whats their story, and what do they want to tell the world? One of the parents wrote this beautiful poem straight from the heart:
This is my child
The fact that he feels like a she
Doesn’t change a thing about my child
But it changes my perspective about male/female
This is my daughter, she is actually a he
We don’t think it matters because she’s the child I gave birth to
And whom I will love till death and beyond
It doesn’t change her personality
These are Dutch transgender boys and girls. What we see is the other way around. The girls are born as boys, and the boys are born as girls. They’re happy children because in the Netherlands we have a very positive approach and support system towards transgender kids. Because of that, there is a great deal of acceptance by families, doctors and society, more than anywhere else in the world.
This photo was taken in a butterfly garden. The little boy on the front wears a huge living butterfly as a broche. This group posed for the important photo book we made about Dutch transgender children INSIDE OUT | Portraits from Cross-gender Children. From off 2003, eleven kids posed every year to have their transformation documented. This was the very first time in the world transgender children and their families allowed themselves to be exposed to the outside world, because they didn’t want to play hide and seek any more.
I love to work with these children, because for me they’re all angels. By showing themselves in honest un-photoshoped photos, they support other transgender kids and their families. For gender-spectrum children all over the world these angels are the pioneers. And they’re very much aware of it. They want other gender-spectrum kids also to be happy!
Now we are continuing our mission. In this butterfly garden we will make a sequel… two years later. And tomorrow I will make a solo portrait from Taran, who is in pink on the front, now eight years old. Taran is now called she and we’re going to take her picture as a princess on a white horse! We’ll keep you posted!