Our People: We are Visible — Body-Positive

Get to know these transgender community members

In this issue’s “Our People,” we’re switching out our usual Q&A format to highlight a new project coordinated by local transgender leader Mac McLaughlin. The project, “We Are Visible,” highlights transgender community members through art and word. McLaughlin teamed up with photographer Jef Madden to capture artistic expressions of several community members who also wrote briefly about themselves, their pride, their views on body positivity and more.

A little more about the project from Mac: “The purpose of this project is to promote visibility, pride and body positivity within the Trans* community. With the dedication of photographer Jef Madden (owner of Peephole Images) we have been able to allow our models to express their pride through the use of paints representing the colors of the Trans* flag however they feel comfortable. We hope this is the beginning of a series of photos demonstrating the diversity of the Trans* community in all aspects. The project  will have its debut during Charlotte Pride week at the city’s first Trans* exclusive event.”

macmclaughlin

Mac McLaughlin

My name is Mac and I am 4 years into my transition. I am a trans* male performer, the owner of the T-PACK (trans* male social club in Charlotte) and the originator of this project. My goal with this was to show the diversity and beauty within my community. That we are here and we are proud of who we are. Proud of the struggle and the journey to become our true selves. Special thanks to Jef Madden and Peephole Images without whom this vision would not have been possible.

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devontejackson

Devonte Jackson

My name is Devonte. I am a trans man. I have been on Testosterone for one year and I am pre op. The photos brought out a whole new perspective in me and helped me to see a side of myself that I would have kept hidden. It helped me to appreciate my body and it’s changes. It was the best experience and I am thankful for the opportunity from Jef and Mac.

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liamjohns
Liam Johns

My name is Liam and I am 26 years old. I’ve been out as Trans since I was 18 and been in transition for 7 years. Being born and raised in Charlotte has been amazing and I am happy to call it my home. Living life as a trans guy here has not always been easy but overall a good experience. I was really excited about this photo project because I thought it would let me express myself in a new and positive way. I am open and out about being transgender 95% of my daily life. This photo makes me 100% out though. I am happy to say I am finally comfortable and confident to show my body in this way. A way that shows the LGBTQ community that all transgender people are beautiful and unique. I hope these photos bring awareness and acceptance to our community.

kassyhylton
Kassy Hylton

I am a vibrant 27-year-old Latina woman with goals and aspirations who happens to be transgender. Born in California and raised in Charlotte, I always felt misunderstood by my peers in my youth. I have always known I was different. My deep desire to embark on the journey of transitioning was not taken lightly. Even with all of the unknowns, my heart would only be happy once my physical appearance matched my inner being. With the support of my loving family I was finally able to be my true self. I am blessed and thankful to have them in my life. I am proud to be a part of this project as it has granted me the opportunity to show my community and society that regardless of gender we are all still human.  : :

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.