B Proud

Transcending Love: Portraits of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Couples invites the viewer to accept the subjects as everyday people with hopes and dreams and a deep abiding love. The portraits offer an invitation to accept what’s beneath the surface, not in terms of anatomy, sexuality, or gender expression, but rather what lies in the hearts and souls of the subjects. 

By focusing on relationships and emphasizing the powerful nature of the universally understood emotion of love, this project moves the viewer further down the path of understanding the transgender community. Above and beyond the universal struggles of any relationship, these subjects have overcome the complexities of life as a transgender person in a world that has yet to embrace them at a time when there are over 500 proposed legislative bills across the country explicitly aimed at stripping the transgender community of their fundamental human rights.

The formality of these portraits, as opposed to candid photographs, is aimed at honoring the subjects in a more stately, heroic way. Visibility is validating for this community; these portraits affirm that the subjects deserve the right to live as their true authentic selves. This visible “normalcy” confirms that the honesty of gender expression is both non-threatening and liberating. The subjects are not asking permission to live their truth; they proudly demonstrate their right to do so. Each portrait location, chosen by the couple in discussion with the artist, is significant and provides the viewer with another level of understanding into the relationship.


Proud. It’s not a slogan. It’s the name that’s on her birth certificate, and Barbara Proud says that it’s a name that she has to live up to. Proud is an artist/activist whose documentary projects focus on the LGBTQ+ and transgender communities. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Photography Department at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and faculty at the International Center of Photography (ICP), New York.