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New Year Goal #1: Trans Visibility

A portrait of Emma Parker in Matt Seal's garage with studio lights. Emma is holding a green wide rim hat with a brown blazer.  Emma stares intently into the camera.
Portrait taken by Matt Seal

Happy New Year! Yes, I’ll most likely be saying that well into the new year…. Because let’s face it. It is a time to refresh, start again, find your roots, and grow. 2023 is going to be one for the books ya’ll.

2022 was a year full of growth and new connections, both for my business and personally. I’m so thankful for all of your support and I’m excited to see what’s possible in 2023. My hope for this business is that it could continue to be a space where people feel celebrated and seen. You all are what makes my work so special–getting to hear all of your unique stories and capturing them.

Over the course of January, I’m going to be sharing a few of my goals for the new year as a way of bringing you all along on the journey. These goals won’t only be about my business, but also personal growth.

When thinking of my goals for the new year, one of my first thoughts is the growth of the Trans Visibility project. It’s amazing to see how the project has grown. Since the start of Trans Visibility in 2021, I’ve gotten to photograph 47 wonderful humans, displaying their portraits in two galleries. A project like this is so important because it lifts the voices of people our society continually tries to silence.

Thank you to all of the participants for allowing me to capture your authentic selves. you are all beautiful. Thank you for being you!

Support from grants such as the Dale E. Heydlauff Community Arts Innovation award has allowed me to continue documenting and creating art with the Trans and Non-Binary community. Opportunities like this are so appreciated because it means that others are seeing my vision for the project and want to support it.

SO HAM” is a mantra that I say during my morning meditations. It means, “I am.” I have been drawn to this mantra over the past year because it has allowed me to accept ALL that I am. My pronouns are something that I’ve struggled with accepting because I didn’t want to put a label on anything. This personal photography project has allowed me to learn, grow, and appreciate all that everyone is.

In July, I had a photoshoot shoot with the one and only, Dï Thomas. Dï and I have known each other for years, so it was lovely having them back in the studio. We managed to get on the topic of pronouns and Dï let me know that they are just themselves. That’s when it clicked. I don’t have to be anything other than myself. As someone who is more androgynous presenting, I am comfortable with the pronouns she/her/they/them. You could even sprinkle in a little he/him if it feels right at the time…or I can just be me: Emma. Gender is fluid and there is nothing more beautiful than riding those waves and the feels that come and go. I’ll give myself the grace to be me. So Ham.

Looking Ahead

I see so many amazing possibilities for the Trans Visibility project. I’d like to continue expanding the reach of the project geographically, reaching other states, and even going international when I travel to Ireland this summer. There are Trans and Non-Binary people worth celebrating all over the world, so the possibilities are endless.


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