PDN Photo of the Day

Mariette Pathy Allen’s Lifelong Tribute to the Courage of the Trans Community

Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting the spectrum of gender expression for over 40 years. Work dating from the late 1970s through the early 2000s is the main focus of Rites of Passage, 1978-2006, on view at the Museum of Sex through September 8.

Pulled from an archive consisting of thousands of photographs, interviews and other materials related to a career dedicated to supporting and documenting LGBTQIA communities, the selection largely highlights a time before the internet, when hard-to-find newsletters and magazines were essential lifelines, and protests and in-person conferences were one of the few safe spaces to be out. Darkroom work prints, photographs from color slides, hand-written notes, DIY programs for events are on display, representing an extreme passionate in the hope for a more equal future.

The exhibition reveals the ways Pathy Allen has been there for her subjects on a deeply emotional level, as they have been there for her. Many of the individuals she photographed became her chosen family. She sought to show these individuals as beautiful, loving, and human, during a time of severe lack of acceptance and understanding from the broader public.

Pathy Allen’s first book, Transformations: Crossdressers and Those Who Love Them (1989) received over 50 rejection letters before finding a publisher. In Pathy Allen’s words, “To depict them where they belong, in the daylight of daily life, rich in relationships with spouses, children, parents and friends is my tribute to their courage.”

Mariette Pathy Allen: Rites of Passage, 1978-2006
Museum of Sex
Through September 8, 2019

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