Death of My Daughter

2010

Death of My Daughter is a photographic series and video of FTMs. The idea began to materialize after my mother, upon learning of my transition, announced to my family that I was dead to her, that her daughter was gone. In fact, that daughter of her creation had never existed.

In a meta-sense, Death of My Daughter is about the role of gender, and gender roles, in contemporary U.S. society. The project explores themes of gender, sexuality, performativity, subjectivity, transformation, expectations, fantasy, rebirth, and authenticity.

One of the strongest influences on a person’s gender role expectations is his or her parents. The intention of this series is to represent the burial, or putting to rest, of the gender roles our parents imposed upon us and to illustrate our metamorphoses into gender authenticity, into the men we have become. We FTMs are changelings in the eyes of our parents and society. We are deconstructing the great wall of conformity by choosing to live life and gender on our own terms.

The series is comprised of two portraits of each trans-male subject. Portrait 1: Subject posed in a coffin; representing either a) the daughter/girl your parents saw him to be, wished he were, or believed he should have been or b) the daughter/girl he perceived himself to be prior to his reincarnation as the man he is today. Portrait 2: Subject posed as his authentic self; the man he is today.

The video documents interviews with each model as he is being styled for the shoot. These interviews were conducted to allow the viewer to have a more personal connection with the men in the photographs – a better understanding of their communities, sexualities, histories, and journeys.