Warning: This article contains nudity and may not be appropriate for work environments.
"Regardless of size, shape, race, surgery or hormones, these guys are all 'trans enough' and deserve to have their identities respected." This was the powerful message 23-year-old trans artist Maxwell Hunter posted on Facebook, alongside a digital painting depicting 10 trans men's bodies.
The images, made on a computer with a Cintiq 22HD Wacom graphic tablet and Photoshop, depict a variety of unclothed bodies with the faces removed. They capture the wide range of bodies that exist between the binary categories of "masculine" and "feminine," rejecting rigid categories and existing comfortably and proudly in the space in between.
"Transgender visibility has grown in the last year and people are starting to see that transgender males exist," Hunter explained in an email to The Huffington Post. "The trans men who have been featured in the media so far tend to be very masculine, 'cis-passing' men who are on hormones and have had surgery. I wanted to show that trans men come in all shapes and sizes and that some don't take hormones or have surgery and that's okay."
Hunter, who is based in Leeds, England, normally makes fantastical artwork revolving around video game imagery. In the past couple of years, however, his work has veered more toward realism, specifically in depicting members of the trans community. To find his subjects, Hunter reached out to individuals through Facebook and was overwhelmed at the enthusiastic response he received. "I honestly didn't think people would be that comfortable," he said. "Thankfully I received no negativity."
Through the project, Hunter hopes to illuminate the resounding truth that every human being and every identity deserves respect, regardless of the body he or she or they are in. "I want other trans guys to see that they aren't alone and we're all doing our best to reach a place where we feel comfortable in ourselves and that we don't need to look a certain way," the artist said. "I don't want to make out that trans people are just their bodies but I know that the physical transition is usually a very important element of transitioning for most people."