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Seattle, WA 

SIMON 2011: This portrait was conceived of years ago over whiskey drinks at one of the oldest gay bars in Seattle (RIP Thumpers).  I always had a secret wish to see what I look like when I’m snuggled up in bed with a lover.  I wanted to see the way sweetness would be expressed by our bodies at rest and in love.  I wanted to see how our hands would touch each other and what our faces would look like.  It turned out to be a good idea, because it was a striking image for me to see from an outside perspective.  It was such a stark and sweet moment in time.  And of course if Molly were to take the same picture again today, it would look totally different.  I have four new tattoos that would show up in the photo, and my body has undergone a huge metamorphosis now that I have been on testosterone for three years.  West and I are no longer lovers, but we are neighbors and sweet friends and still enjoy a good snuggle with each other.  I have a lovely genderqueer partner who I’ve spent the past two and a half years cuddling with – he would be in the portrait with me this time around, and the way we hold each other would be different because every love is different.  Being on “T” (Testosterone), this portrait has come to take on extra meaning for me as a candid witnessing of my body as it used to be.  I loved that body even though I couldn’t keep living in it as it was.  I love my body now too.  Part of me wants to have an “After” version of this portrait taken, but I don’t want this one to be seen as “Before.”  I’m the same person I’ve always been.  I’m a clever mix of male and female, lover and fighter, sweet and sassy.  If Molly took a new portrait today, I would call it “Still.” as in still me, still genderqueer, still waking up sweetly as often as possible.  xo