Steinberg's photos are a provocative conversation about sensuality, sexuality, sadness, bravado and, most of all, courage. Kudos to the women of Divas, and the man brave enough to portray their stories. -- Allena Gabosch, Director, Seattle Erotic Art Festival
Steinberg's photos reveal an intense vulnerability and beauty that repeatedly take your breath away. -- Marianna Beck, Libido Films
You know you're supposed to be looking at their bodies, but you find yourself looking at their faces instead. -- Barbara Carellas, author of Urban Tantra
David Steinberg's portraits provide an inside track to a world that only he could have penetrated at this level. They are haunting, beautiful, and leave you wanting more, as all brilliant portraits do. --Barbara Nitke, photographer, lecturer, author of Kiiss of Fire
Steinberg documents his subjects compassionately, showing their inner depth and loveliness. Beautiful work from a world that most people know nothing about. --Carol Queen, Ph.D., cultural sexologist
David Steinberg's images bring the viewer inside the true humanity of his subjects, capturing the vulnerabilities, fears, and insecurities of a community that often hides behind brash bravado. The level of trust he established to get these images is remarkable. --Jim Duvall, founder, Seattle Erotic Arts Festival
From the Author
I have been involved with transsexual women for over twenty years, ever since I followed two women into a San Francisco bar called The Black Rose and discovered a world I previously knew nothing about. During this time I have met a broad spectrum of trans women at a series of San Francisco clubs, dated some, gotten to know many other as friends and acquaintances. AS a result I've had to reexamine every assumption I ever made about gender, and have been led to a radically different understanding of what gender means, and of how profoundly the concept of gender shapes the lives of transgender and non-transgender people alike.
Photographing transsexual women has been its own remarkable journey, giving me an opportunity to see and get to know trans women in the peculiarly personal, intimate way that the camera makes possible. I am constantly amazed at how present, genuine, and revealing transsexual women are in front of my camera. Repeatedly, I see through the lens a person with a deep desire to be seen, to reveal her inner self and be received with respect and understanding. Perhaps this is why trans women affect me so strongly, why their struggles feel so close to home even though their lives and issues are so different from my own. Don't we all want to be seen and respected for who we really are? Haven't we all been shunned when we fail to confirm the assumptions and biases of the people around us?
Just about every transsexual woman I know has a profound story to tell. Typically it is a story filled with personal conflict, loss of family and friends, and episodes of extreme physical violence, but also a tale of inner strength, courage, personal vindication, and triumph. It is my hope that the photographs in this book offer a genuine and meaningful look at some of the women from Divas, and the powerful stories of their lives.