In the Western world, it can be argued that persons of color exist with reduced experiences because of discrimination. Black LGBT persons often deals with layered complexity which may involve family, friend, religious and/or ethnic group abandonment. Communities that normally provide support and a sense of belonging can be eliminated, creating intense isolation and a small circle of trusted individuals.

The overall transgender community exists as almost a subculture of the umbrella LGBTQ group, however the black transgender person faces very unique challenges. Within this transgender community the percentage of black individuals is less than societally proportionate - so black transgender people face isolation even among their peers.
Naechané Valentino Romeo is a black transgender male.

This photographic project is about Naechané - a 12-month documentation of a person establishing his identity both emotionally and physically while experiencing the unique challenges of being a black transgender person. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness and sow seeds for a cultural heritage of black transgender men and women.
 
Naechané Valentino Romeo is pensive at home while waiting for information from the National Health Service about moving ahead with his top surgery. For female-to-male transgender, top surgery is the stage in the gender reassignment process when breasts are surgically removed.
Naechané examines his hands which have shown indications of appearing more masculine as a result of testosterone hormone treatments. Hormone injections are part of the gender reassignment process.
 
A moment of thought and reflection at Naechane's apartment complex while on the waiting list for gender reassignment surgery.
Naechané's recording equipment and sound studio setup in a spare bedroom at home. Prior to transitioning, Naechané was the first "out" Lesbian/gay rapper in the UK under the name Mz Fontaine. Although he lost many fans in the LGBTQ community one he decided to transition, he plans on continuing his music career once the process is complete and his voice becomes completely masculine.
Naechané reflects on his personal journey and the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. He understands who he is and is eager to move ahead with the physical aspect of realizing his true gender.
 
He also thinks about the challenging process of transitioning for a person of color and hopes to be assigned a doctor who is familiar with black transgender persons.
 
Naechané spends a great deal of time alone in his apartment. Often doing online research about gendetransition and connecting with online transgender communities.
A moment of laughter on the way to receiving the hormone treatment.
En route to the doctor's surgery where Naechané will receive testosterone hormone treatment as part of his transitioning process.
In the waiting room of the doctor's surgery where Naechané will receive hormone treatment as part of his gender reassignment process.
Naechané is joined by close friend "little bit' at the hospital completing paperwork for his top surgery pre-operative procedure. For female to male transgender, top surgery is the stage in the gender reassignment process when female breasts are removed.
Naechané discusses the meeting with the doctor who will perform his top surgery with close friend "little bit'.
Naechané has blood drawn as part of the pre-operative process for his top surgery. For female to male transgender, top surgery
is the stage in the gender reassignment process when female breasts are removed.
A recording session at work. Naechané works at a council-sponsored organisation for
young people and coaches them on how to record music.
A recording session at work. Naechané works at a council-sponsored organisation for 
young people and coaches them on how to record music.
Hanging out at home. Naechané and Kamari, a transgender friend who Naechané mentors spend time
playing video games and watching television.
The night before top surgery Naechané examines his body.
In the elevator on the way to the surgical unit Naechané and Kamari hug.
A silent moment of prayer and reflection before undergoing surgery. Although very excited about the process, Naechané is nervous about undergoing major medical surgery and being put under anaesthesia.
"I'm going in." Naechané enters the surgical room.
Naechané and friend 'little bit' examine his chest after the operation.
Naechané following doctors order after the top surgery and takes medication while drinking water.
Each week the scars heal more quickly and Naechané enjoys examining his chest.
Each week the scars heal more quickly and Naechané enjoys examining his chest.
Naechané exercises and home as part of his body building regimen. To Naechané his masculine physical appearance
is very important as part of his gender reassignment.
Confidently exiting a male bathroom.
Naechané was the first "out" Lesbian/gay rapper in the UK under the name Mz Fontaine.
Naechané now prepares to perform at an LGBT event in North London in his first performance since undergoing gender reassignment
Transgender Remembrance Day 2011. Tribute is paid to all the transgender people from around the world who lost their lives during the
previous year through a violent act because the were transgender. 717 names were read this evening.
Naechané speaks at Transgender Remembrance Day 2011. Tribute is paid to all the transgender people from around the world who lost their lives during the previous year through a violent act because the were transgenger. 717 names were read this evening.
Back to Top