From Clara Malley’s article for Document Journal:
In 1978, photographer Mariette Pathy Allen took a trip to New Orleans. She writes: “By fluke, I stayed in the same hotel as a group of crossdressers who invited me to join them for breakfast on the last morning. When I took a group picture, I was moved by the experience of looking into the eyes of one of the people in the group: I felt as if I was looking at the essence of a human being rather than a man or a woman.”
The trip began Pathy Allen’s 40 year effort to document the diversity of gender identity—an undertaking which began before digital photography and before the internet, when transgender and gender-variant identifying people were apathetically erased and ignored by mainstream narratives with violence even worse than today. Rites of Passage 1978-2006, on display at The Museum of Sex, exhibits Pathy Allen’s photography and ephemera over this span, revealing all that has changed and all that tragically remains the same. Central to Pathy Allen’s work however, lie certain imperatives—resistance via collectivity, visibility, and resilience.