by Kristin Lyseggen
When writer and photographer Kristin Lyseggen moved back to her native Norway from the UK in 2007, she contacted the Harry Benjamin Resource Center in Oslo, seeking participants in a project to increase the understanding of people who are born in a body that does not match their gender. Five years later, these are the stories of four women and seven men—from England, Cuba, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Norway and the United States—who generously and fearlessly shared their life experiences with her. Covering subjects ranging from the Bedouins of the Negev Desert to religious sects in England's West Midlands, Kristin Lyseggen's work highlights individuals within communities in the process of defining who and what they are. She has exhibited her work in Bangkok, Birmingham, Oslo, and London. Her photo documentaries have taken her to Morocco, Palestine, Israel, Thailand, and Cuba, as well as all corners of Europe. At the age of 22, Kristin Lyseggen was hired as a journalist on a newspaper starting up in her home city of Oslo, Norway. She soon discovered that she wanted to focus on otherness, as revealed through photography. She moved to study in Birmingham, England, where she found many subjects, including the Jesus Army, and a community of people in the West Midlands who meet and live as American cowboys every weekend. When she came upon a world of gender-fluid individuals, her experience left her wanting more. This led her to place an ad on a website when she returned to Norway in 2007, seeking participants in a project to illuminate the lives of people with gender identity issues. Little did she know that this would take her on journeys throughout the world. It also presented her with the challenge of how to present people who had made a leap from their natal gender, but appeared to the camera as normal as the next person. It was in their stories that she found her work for the next several years.