I am hir. Not Her, nor him; hir. I am her. I am him.
“I am two bodies trapped in one…
I am hir. Not Her, nor him; hir.
I am her.
I am him.
When you combine them together you
Which is who I am.”
My cousin once told me that I was the only one from our family that supported his process of transition. How? I asked. He said, “you told me to be who I actually am and not to be afraid.” This conversation became the driving force for me to work on this series.
At first, we did not know how to address his identity. Should we address him as she or he? Daughter or son? Sister or brother? Or Both? So, I asked him and he then said, “I want to be addressed as your brother.”
I met Hlot in 2014 while I was working for a different series about transwomen. Despite her identity, she is called as “brother” and “son” by her family. She assured that, “I just want to be treated as a woman.”
Gender transitioning can be a socially, psychologically and economically challenging process. And sometimes, those closest to us like family, find it hardest to accept transgender identity. I am hopeful though, that this can be changed.
Body and soul is a series that aims to bring to light the nuances of emotional and physical expression of transgender people as they transition towards their pursued identities.
PHOTOGRAPHS & TEXT: RITA KHIN, MYANMAR. WEBSITE: instagram.com/khin_rita.
The IPA Mentorship Program is a photography mentorship initiative by Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA) for those who wish to further their personal photographic vision and goals.