This weekend, while in our most favorite ocean-side city, on our best day adventure yet, a lovely man & his wife blind-sided us and approached from behind. They were photographers. And before I could let them fill the space between us with the want to document our family, I said as I so often do, "No thank you. We don't allow photos of our kids." And then the man surprised me. Already, I liked his gentle way. The welcome in his glance, which said he knew things about the world that I did not and that I could only wonder about, left me wanting to hear what he had to say. He redirected the conversation despite the wall I was quick to erect & asked for just me. Not my kids. Not my beautiful wife. Just me. Because I fit the bill for a project he was working on to honor his late sister. Whom I now understand to have been one of the few brave gay women who paved the way for me. Who, like me, identified as a woman in all ways and who, like me, was socially scarred by fear & mean-filled eyes of passersby who would identify us as butch or worse, men. "I'm looking for masculine looking women," he said. And at once, I agreed & thanked him for the opportunity to participate. Thanked him for pushing forward with such a project. Thanked him for being kind.
And then I stood there in the square of that busy intersection, in our favorite ocean-side city, with my family playing nearby & curious people observing, standing on his X marks the spot & looking into the lens of this great camera.
In all the world, he is the only person to have ever approached such a sensitive topic in such an earnest, honest, kind way. And he is the first person to seek me out and ask for just me.
-Foster Mom (the artist)