Agender: A Beautiful Photo Series Of Gender Nonconforming Youth

by Claire Filipek


The series ‘Agender’ was created by photographer Chloe Aftel and captures young adults who refer to themselves using the term “they” as opposed to the gender normative pronouns “he” or “she”. Aftel started the project after she was commissioned by San Francisco Magazine to shoot portraits of a Maybeck High School Senior named Sasha Fleischman. Fleischman suffered a heinous arson attack when they were sleeping on a public bus on their way home from school. The fire caused them to spend over a month in a hospital burn unit to heal from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Aftel was moved by Fleischmans plight and wanted to bring awareness to them and others who do not conform to traditional notions of gender.

Sasha Fleishmann was set on fire last November for wearing a skirt and a men’s shirt. This photograph was taken shortly after Sasha was discharged from the hospital.”

She chose to photograph them in intimate settings to help the viewer enter their worlds. Researchers reportedly discovered that those in the LGBT community who live as neither male nor female face the highest level of discrimination and violence from outsiders.

Emma in their apartment in San Francisco. They plan to possibly change their name after graduating high school. 

“I think a lot of people like to see gender as this scale of blue and pink. I never really identified with either side of that, or even in between blue and pink. It’s so much more complicated–my identity varies so much on any given day. Sometimes I tell people I’m gold or something,” Emma, a fellow high school student, told San Francisco Magazine. 

“Edie in their boyfriend’s parent home in Berkeley”

Sarah, one of Sasha’s closest friends, in their room in their parents house 

“Rain, who models professionally as a man, in their apartment in Berkeley” 

“Mark in their San Francisco apartment. They wear both “male and female” clothing.”


Via San Francisco Magazine, images courtesy of Chloe Aftel

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