Dairy Arts Center

Are You OK?

Are You OK?

A Trans Survival Project by Jesse Freidin

On view February – May 2024

North East Exterior Wall of Dairy Arts Center

Engage with the Exhibition

Read/Hear Lexi’s Story

Lexi, Age 17, Illinois

For the past few years I’ve been terrified not just for myself and my queer community, but for the innocent and sweet young people who are the most directly affected by our nation’s incredibly dangerous anti-trans legislation. It has felt like a fire slowly burning underground for decades, and now the fire is here and it wants the destruction of innocent lives. I started ‘Are You OK?’ as a response to the fear and anger these bills awoke in me, as a way to pass the microphone to the kids and families who find empowerment in sharing their stories, and more importantly as a visual remedy to trans stigmatization.

People who live through trauma and pain cannot be photographed like everybody else. They must be elevated, they must be allowed to take up space. Through this series, and multi-volume book, I created the kind of trans portrait that I wanted to see – that of a person standing in their power, their support networks flanking them, unconditional love filling the frame and a brief moment where the sitter can breathe without fear of violence and without the burden of stigma. It’s a fictional space, but it is also healing. Not every trans child is fortunate enough to have such deep support, and not every trans child has the financial privilege to access affirming healthcare, or a safe place to live, food to eat and life free of violence or oppression. This series is about those that do, in hopes that the love they receive may spill over to those that need it most.

Before each portrait I do a short meditation exercise with each participant where we close our eyes, breathe into our most empowered selves, and show up together for a moment of self-actualization. In the past three years I have archived the first hand accounts of over 150 trans/non-binary youth from over half the states in the country.

Recent Press

Now You See Me

Read the Boulder Weekly article with the artist, Curator of Visual Arts Drew Austin, and Owner of East Window Todd Edward Herman, written by Jezy Grey

Read/Hear Ella’s Story

Ella, Age 8, Missouri

About the Artist

Jesse Freidin was America’s leading fine art dog photographer for the past 15 years, and now focuses his attention on elevating the experience of the trans/tgnc community through portraiture and interviews. His photography is part of over 150 private collections and has been exhibited in galleries from coast to coast. His current series entitled “Are You OK?” addresses the dangers of the current wave of anti-trans legislation sweeping the country in a passionate attempt to erase stigma and elevate the voices of those most affected.

Jesse’s work has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Inside Edition and more. He is the author of two books: When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them (Lerner Books 2020), Finding Shelter: Portraits of Love, Healing and Survival (Lyons Press 2017) and ‘Are You OK?’ Volume One (2023).

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MARCH 2020

As of today, 3/12/2020, The Dairy Arts Center remains open and operational. Should scheduling changes occur, ticket holders will be directly notified by The Dairy Arts Center.

If you have a question about an event please contact the presenting arts organization. For films, Dairy Presents and all other questions contact the Box Office at 303.440.7826