PHOTOS: The 'Handsome Revolution' Is Here and Queer

PHOTOS: The 'Handsome Revolution' Is Here and Queer

Images of queer and trans masculinity are still much too few and far between in popular culture.

A trend that's so common we barely even notice it, this lack of visibility often means that masculine-of-center women, masculine gender-nonconforming people, and trans men have to dig to find even a few pictures that reflect themselves in the wider world, which can sincerely effect one's confidence, says San-Francisco-based wedding photographer Miki Vargas. That's where an artist can come in and make a real difference. 

Beginning in 2012, Vargas began collecting images of non-traditional masculinity to fill the void. Now titled The Handsome Revolution Project, her work is a vibrant collection of models looking sharp in suits, ties, and sweaters, showing what the range of masculinity looks like in today's world. Her subjects shine with self-possession, looking pleased just to be themselves.

The Handsome Revolution Project is all about "empower[ing] others to be authentic, to feel handsome, and to continue to use fashion as a tool for gender expression," Vargas explains to The Advocate. Each model also gets space to explain what their masculinity means to them.

"I think our world has come far but not far enough yet," Vargas says. "We still don't see female masculinity represented enough in the media, and I believe it is important to see ourselves represented in the world. Visibility is an educational tool and promotes acceptance."

Morever, Vargas adds, this is an issue that can crop up in LGBT-exclusive spaces.

"I'd love for this project to help knock down the little boxes within the big queer box to remind us all that we cannot accept transphobia, sexism, etc. within a community that fights together for equal rights as humans," she concludes. "The beauty in our differences is so infinite it cannot be categorized."

Check out images and words from The Handsome Revolution Project below and learn more at Vargas's fundraising page here.

Emi

Masculinity has so many forms that present themselves both internally and externally. It is a voice of self expression that some of us display in the ways we dress (or don’t dress), the way we style our hair, wear makeup (or not), or simply in the way we carry ourselves. For many of us, appearance of masculinity is a way to identify with our inner selves. It is a way to stand out, feel strength, and look beautifully handsome while doing it. I identify with my masculinity as a way to embrace my androgynous appearance. I rock out a suit and tie when I am feeling fancy, keep my hair trim with a clean mohawk, rarely sit with my legs crossed, and lift weights just as heavy as the guy next to me at the gym.

Kayley

Masculinity is the form I take that allows my authentic self to emerge. It is the way society sees me, categorizes me. To me, though, it is comfort and beauty and challenge and fun. Masculinity is a part of me, but I am so much more.

Ailey

Masculinity to me is something that defines my center. It allows me to break down social constructs and educate people on a daily basis surrounding the "normative" ways women should act and dress. It empowers me as an individual. To show that masculinity in women is completely acceptable. Masculinity is very much defined by the individual embracing the broad range of qualities being masculine has the ability to hold. Personally, being masculine gives me strength, confidence, courage, and a voice in myself without following age-old gender roles and the idea that only a man can possess those qualities masculinity carries.

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Tags: #Women

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