From the interview with Mariette Pathy Allen by Nadja Sayej for i-D:
How did you get into photographing the trans community?
Mariette Pathy Allen: I was lucky, I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 1978 and stayed in the same hotel as a group of crossdressers. The last day for breakfast, I came down with my camera equipment and I saw this group of ten people and one asked if I wanted to ask them for brunch. I did. After breakfast, they all walked out of the door into the garden, where there was a swimming pool, then stood in a line, one was taking photos, so I thought ‘maybe its okay for me to take a picture, too.’ I raised my camera; everyone was looking in different directions. One was looking straight back at me, I had an amazing feeling, like I’m looking not at a man or a woman, but the essence of a human being. I was seeing a soul, rather than a gendered person.