The next time you visit NMWA, come to the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center to see new books on women in the arts, as well as reference books, artists’ books, and more.
You Are You features photographs by Lindsay Morris that document gender-nonconforming children at an annual weekend-long summer camp. The camp provides children with a safe, supportive environment where they can explore and express multiple interpretations of gender alongside their families.
Morris’s work attempts to broaden the conversation on gender-nonconformity by contributing to a larger discussion of support and representation for youths. You Are You offers a glimpse into the importance of familial and societal support for gender-unique children. Noted author Jennifer Finney Boylan, who contributed an essay detailing her experiences as a transgender woman, explains, “As it turns out, the thing I most needed to learn was not how to do any one particular thing…No, the thing I needed to learn, back then as well as later, was that I was not alone.”
The book’s profound photographs capture the open expression and normalization of gender-variant childhood. The artist addresses the issue that a lack of understanding of gender identity and expression often leads to discrimination against gender-nonconforming individuals. You Are You marks a groundbreaking moment when “gender-creative childhoods are being freely expressed.” The book not only incorporates photographs of the children, but also the voices of family members on raising gender-creative youths and the importance of listening to their needs.
Morris’s project highlights the self-awareness and bravery of gender-creative children. It frames their growth and needs within the scope of societal responsibility; we must listen to them, support them, and let them explore the gender spectrum. Most importantly, we must let them be who they are.
All are welcome to look at this catalogue, which is on the wall display in the LRC’s reading room. If you’re touring the museum’s exhibitions, the library is open to the public and makes a great starting point on the fourth floor. In addition to beautiful books and comfortable chairs, library visitors enjoy interesting exhibitions that feature archival manuscripts, personal papers by women artists, rare books, and artists’ books. Reference Desk staff members are always happy to answer questions and offer assistance. Open Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–5 p.m.
—Bianca Rawlings is an intern at the Library and Research Center. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in art history with a concentration in late Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, focusing on issues of gender, representation, and marginalization.