Transgender people are appearing more often in advertisements and mass media. But when they do, it’s very often in stock photos that show them standing against a blank wall, or else they are hardly seen at all. The most used stock photos are close-ups of their hands holding the symbol for transgender pride, without their faces or other defining features visible.
Stock photographs — which appear in ads, brochures and magazines, and are supposed to seem familiar and inviting — are one measure of how a society sees itself. Transgender people exist, the photographs seem to say, but at a distance — not as full-fledged people, leading individual lives and interacting in the world.