Transgender Day of Visibility is on March 31st, but we wanted to get a head start. For the next three weeks, we will be featuring a member of the transgender community who inspires us, and will hopefully inspire you too.
This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Samuel Avery (he/him), a 24-year-old trans man, artist, photographer, filmmaker and activist.
Tell us about yourself, who is Samuel Avery?
Well, to start off, I’m a 24 year old trans man (he/him) from a small town in Connecticut. I came out as trans when I was 21 years old and since then have been living as Samuel Avery Giardina for about 3 years now. I graduated from Bryant University with a marketing degree in 2020 and ended up pursuing photography and design once I had the time to figure out what my passion really was. Coming out as trans made me realize a lot about who I was and ended up helping me a lot with my career journey. I started taking photos of myself as a way to capture my experiences as a trans man. The more I focused on the trans journey the more I wanted to raise awareness for my community with my art. My work started gaining traction on social media and I realized that I had the opportunity to inspire others with my art. I started my own business selling my LGBTQ+ and mental health awareness designs as well as offering my photography services for other clients, specifically queer clients. My passion is my art. I want to continue to make others feel seen with the photos I take. I only hope to continue to grow my business and make a difference for my community.
What inspires you? Any advice for those who have trouble finding inspiration in today's climate?
Some of my biggest inspirations are other trans artists and people living their lives as authentically as they can. I came out a little later, so I always felt a little behind in my own community but it was always nice to see other individuals like myself sharing their story. I’ve made so many amazing connections through social media with other trans creators and I’m extremely thankful for the people I’ve met that continue to inspire me. If you’re having trouble finding inspiration, my biggest advice is to focus and look for the things that make you happy. Your own happiness and your own goals can easily be your own inspiration. The goals I have for myself inspire me on a daily basis. If you have enough motivation and drive to achieve those goals, it will fuel your inspiration enough to keep going.
You use your art as a form of activism, how did that come about?
I started taking self portraits simply to capture my own journey in my transness. I had difficulty talking about the issues I went through and everything I experienced before and after my transition, so instead of just talking about it, I started taking photos instead. Those photos turned into more photos bringing attention to all sorts of LGBTQ+ issues. I’ve always had a passion for social issues but I never thought I would end up becoming an LGBTQ+ activist. If there’s one thing I’m extremely passionate about it’s my awareness work. I’m always the most excited sharing those kinds of shoots with my audience because I know it’s something people need to see. I’ve received feedback from people telling me that I helped them come out, or that I made them realize things about themselves that they wouldn't have ever figured out if it wasn’t for my art. That’s why I do what I do. I do it to inspire others and help them with their own journey. I’ve gotten messages from people thanking me for educating them about the trans community and those are the kinds of messages I never want to stop getting. If I can continue to educate people with my work, then I know I’m making a difference somehow, and that’s the goal.
What can allies do to better support the transgender community?
I always tell people the best way to support the trans community is to stand up. No matter if you’re trans, gay, lesbian, bi, straight, cis, etc you still have the ability to influence someone’s opinion. Especially with all of the anti-trans bills being introduced, it’s important to have representation everywhere. It’s not always likely that my art reaches those with privilege but if it does, this is when we need you most. Something as simple as sharing information, resources, artwork, etc is an easy way to help support the trans community. People need to see what we go through and they need to see that we exist. The ignorance comes from lack of education so that’s why I try my best to educate with my work. Keep spreading the right kind of awareness, tell your trans friends/family you support them, support trans owned businesses, donate to trans organizations. There are so many ways to help support us, especially right now when we need the support the most.