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Posts by: Efrem Zelony-Mindell

New Photo Exhibition Pushes the Boundaries of Femininity and Gender Roles

Juno Calypso_Massage Mask_2015_c Juno Calypso_Courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Massage Mask, 2015 © Juno Calypso

from "Experimental Relationship" project

Get a firm grasp of your man, 2010 © Pixy Yijun Liao

Flowers Gallery in New York City has mounted a show, The Real Thing, which focuses on four female photographers whose works highlight roles of gender and identity. There’s a surge of focus on the study of human sexuality and identity; male or female, straight, gay or otherwise. Juno Calypso, Natasha Caruana, Pixy Liao, and Melanie Willhide use their photographic processes as a means to experiment further with feminine ideals.

Harrowing Photographs Capture the Gravity of the HIV / AIDS Epidemic in Tijuana

AIDS epidemic in Tijuana

Transgender sex worker Fernanda Sanchez waits for clients at night on a street in Tijuana’s red light district. Transgender women and gay men have the highest HIV infection rates of any group in Tijuana. Selling sex further increases risk, as does smoking crystal meth, a drug used by many Tijuana sex workers including Fernanda. She knew how to protect herself from the AIDS virus but said that “sometimes the customers are very bad and make you do it without condoms.” In November 2014 she tested positive for HIV. She said she was not worried much about living with the virus and she did not immediately seek treatment. What she did fear, she said, was la burla—the mockery. Fernanda said she once had a sex worker’s registration card but no longer bothered because no one asked for it. The card shows sex workers have registered with the municipal health department and are receiving monthly tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. If they are found to be infected with HIV, the card is revoked. Fernanda grew up as the son of a butcher in the city of Lazaro Cardenas on Mexico’s Pacific coast. She left home at the age of 14 to perform in a drag bar in Zihuatanejo, a nearby beach town. She got heavily into cocaine and started injecting olive oil into different parts of her body to look more female. After moving to Tijuana, she had extensive plastic surgery on her face and body. She still had male genitals, which she said was important for business. Male-to-female transgenders often have male clients who like to receive anal sex but do not identify themselves as gay. In their minds, there is no stigma if they are having sex with a woman, even if she has a penis.

Photographer Uncovers a Hotspot for Gay Cruising in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

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The Vale of Cashmere, in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, is a well-kept secret to many. Thomas Roma, a Brooklynite and New Yorker, was introduced to the Vale by chance. A close friend frequented the park, asking Roma – one summer day – for a ride there. The Vale is synonymous to those who know it, as a location where countless men are able to feed desire, gender, identity, race and community with other men. This is where Roma has constructed his new body of work for Steven Kasher Gallery. A body of work aptly named, In the Vale of Cashmere.

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