In 2021, Jesse Freidin began traveling across the country to photograph transgender youth for a photo project called “Are You OK?” He’s been to more than half the states in the country, meeting with dozens of trans kids.
In August, Freidin made his second visit to Texas. In the intervening year, legal and policy-based attacks on LGBTQ+ people in the United States have reached feverish heights. Governor Greg Abbott even launched child abuse investigations into parents who seek gender-affirming healthcare for their kids. Though nonprofits like Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union have responded with multiple lawsuits against the policy, which has been partially blocked in court, it still left many families fearing for their safety. Kai Shappley, a trans girl known for her outspoken activism, fled the state with her family a month before Freidin planned to photograph her.
“I want to tell those stories before they disappear, before these families leave the country or state, before these families have to go underground,” Freidin said.