This post is the second post in a series of coverage from the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference 2010, that took place Feb. 19 to Feb. 21, 2010, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Loren Cameron — a female-to-male transgender man, photographer and author of Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits — served as the opening speaker of MBLGTACC, discussing his nude portraits of transgender people.
Cameron began documenting his own transition through his photography. After meeting with a benefactor, he began massively recruiting transgender people to travel to his San Francisco studio for raw, nude portraits exhibiting the different types of bodies transgender people have.
The models, all in various stages of transition, display the honest beauty of the human body in a way most people never see.
One such model, Aleshia Brevard, is a male-to-female transgender woman who worked as an actress. She underwent one of the first transitional surgeries in America in 1962, going on to work as a Playboy bunny and star in such film and television shows as The Love God, The Red Skelton Show, The Partridge Family and The Dean Martin Show. Brevard lived stealth for many years, coming out in a big way by posing for Cameron’s book.
Cameron also discussed life as a transgender person as well, recounting incidents of attack and fear. “It’s been 20 years [since I came out as trans] and I still don’t understand why my existence upsets people,” Cameron said.
Under the controversial Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, transgender people must receive a letter from a mental health professional in order to transition. Transgender activists have been working to change these standards and to remove gender identity disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
“I can go get a nose job or get my breasts augmented, but I have to get permission to change my body with a letter saying I am a candidate for transgender surgery,” Cameron said.