It was 1978 in New Orleans on the last day of Mardi Gras when photographer Mariette Pathy Allen happened upon a group of crossdressing men in a hotel—a chance encounter that would lead to a multi-decade exploration of the transgender community. Shot throughout the 1980s, Transformations compiles portraits of crossdressers in their homes and with their loved ones in an attempt to offer society a different view of a group that had been quite mis-characterized at the time. Allen was a pioneering powerhouse at the inception of this work, which was published into a book in 1989. She has since continued to inspire gender consciousness with the publication of her second book, The Gender Frontier that compiles photographs, interviews, and essays exploring political activism and transgender youth. Allen has also been a valuable consultant to several films about gender and sexuality over the years.