Images of trans and non-binary people can illustrate any subject matter, not just stories related directly to those communities. Consider using these photos for stories on topics like beauty, work, education, relationships, or wellness. Including transgender and non-binary people in stories not explicitly about gender identity paints a more accurate depiction of the world we live in today.
Per the terms of the Creative Commons license, you may not create derivative work from the images or use the images for commercial purposes. Beyond these basic license stipulations, it is vital for anyone using this resource to make appropriate contextual decisions. When attaching a photo to an article, think critically about how the accompanying headline could reflect on the trans community. Understanding the stereotypes and tropes that have accompanied transgender media representation—such as trans subjects being cast only as sex workers, portrayed soley in states of apparent victimhood or crisis, and being characterized as deceptive and mentally unstable—can help you to avoid them. If your usage of one of these photos could feed into a stereotype or negative stigma, you probably shouldn’t use it. Challenge your own implicit biases and assumptions about about how gender identity and gender expression correlate with other aspects of identity such as sex assigned at birth, race, age, sexuality, and class. There is not one way to “look transgender,” and no one model can represent the trans and non-binary community. All transgender people look transgender because they are transgender. Some transgender people may be immediately perceived as transgender by others, while some transgender people may be perceived as cisgender. Select photos in the collection reflect this range of expressions. Additionally, transmasculine people often get left out of media representation. Don’t immediately assume you need to use a photograph of a trans woman to represent the trans community. Not all transgender people medically transition using hormones and/or surgeries, and their identity is not less valid because of it. Representing people who are transgender but have not medically transitioned helps reflect the diversity of the community. In this library, we included each model’s gender identification in the caption of each photo, in order to help editors avoid making assumptions when choosing images. In editorial contexts, however, gender identity should not be used in a caption or article unless it is relevant to the story.
As you engage with these images, don’t make these editorial decisions alone. Talk with your teams, work with LGBTQ colleagues who have offered to help, and reach out to third-party organizations like GLAAD, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist’s Association, and The Trans Journalists Association to educate yourself and your staff about best practices around media representation of trans and non-binary people.
As with all stock photos, we ask that you use images without identifiable faces for stories on sensitive topics, such as sexual health, crime, violence, and mental health. Do not use the images in a manner that defames or casts the subjects of a photo in a false light. All of the photos in the Gender Spectrum Collection were taken by Zackary Drucker and Alyza Enriquez. Please credit The Gender Spectrum Collection in your captions.