|Kay, ex–Green Beret by Mariette Pathy Allen|
" Mariette Pathy Allen’s 35-year journey documenting the transgender community had a serendipitous beginning. In 1978, Allen and her husband went on a trip to New Orleans and happened to stay in the same inn as a group of cross-dressers. One morning after breakfast, the group began taking pictures by the swimming pool, and Allen, already with her camera equipment, gently asked if she could take a few shots as well. “I lifted the camera to my eye looking at these people and one person standing opposite me looked back at me and I felt I was looking into a soul, not a man, not a woman, but the essence of a human being, and I thought, I have to have this person in my life,” Allen recalled. That person, Vicki West, ended up living about 20 blocks from Allen in Manhattan and started introducing Allen to parties, friends, and conferences of people involved in the cross-dressing community. “I found it beyond fascinating,” Allen said. “I discovered I had something I could contribute. When I started doing portraits of transgender people, no one was doing it and I had to figure out what would be the most helpful way of doing it, what would be the meaning of it?”
An interesting sidelight I'm noticing when I feature excerpts from other blogs is I have noticed my Google spell check is now highlighting "transgendered" as a miss spelling. I took the liberty of correcting it twice in this excerpt.