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My name is Ronen Basil Weiss Kohn. My pronouns are fae/faer/faers — a definitive claim I’ve recently become comfortable making, after years of “well, any sort of gender-neutral pronouns are fine, I don’t care — or he/him/his, that’s okay too.” My ongoing project for the last decade has been to live as close to my truth as possible in a world that would rather see me make compromises and concessions. I’m a part of the “be yourself” generation that grew up to find that when “yourself” is a queer, genderfluid person who believes in relationship anarchy and would rather make art and cuddle than do just about anything else, life becomes a balance between truth and survival.

Comfort in my own skin has been its own struggle. I’ve always known I was “pretty” because people kept telling me so, but they would also do things like tell me I was growing into a “beautiful young woman,” which never felt right. Last year, a couple of months after starting on testosterone, I did my first photoshoot with Braden, in an attempt to start figuring out what it meant to feel sexy in my changing body. It worked… sort of. When I looked at the photos afterward, I saw my attempts to “look sexy” more than I saw me. Looking back on it now, I think I was still stuck in a pattern of viewing sexiness as a performance for others, rather than something I could project inherently from my own person.

For this new session, I chose outfits and poses that made me feel powerful on an automatic, instinctive level. I chose to bind my chest in a way that allowed for an exposed sternum. I covered my body in florals and satin and natural light, and alternated between chunky boots and high heels. It’s just as much of a costume as the dragon onesie and gold eyeshadow I wore in my first shoot, but it’s a costume that made me feel cool and confident: two major ingredients of sexiness, if not THE ingredients. This time, I find myself being less judgemental of the person in the pictures. I find myself caring less whether anyone else would find this person attractive. I’m satisfied with it because it portrays an image that feels congruent with how I live on the inside of my head. It’s one step closer to being fully, truly myself.

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