iO Tillet Wright is a photographer. He's also a human. He also lived the first six years of his life as a girl ... then a boy, then a girl, then — well, I'll let him explain.

For iO, gender is something that can grow and change over time. iO lived the first six years of life identifying as a girl. Then, she decided she wanted to be a boy. But at age 14, he wanted to explore what it meant to be a girl and identified as a girl for many years after that.


iO was super fortunate to have a family who supported his choices and for which his ever-evolving gender expression was just not an issue.

What's the message here? Gender shouldn't have to fit any labels. You shouldn't have to check a single box and squish yourself into it. In fact, why don't we just say f*** boxes altogether?

iO is working on a photography portrait project called "Self Evident Truths" to convey just that — that LGBTQ people, no matter how they identify or where they fit on whatever spectrum, are just people.

Now that's a message I can get behind.

Hold up! Are you feeling confused? Here are some definitions that may clear things up a bit:

  • Biological sex: This is determined by your genitalia.
  • Gender expression: This is how you see yourself on the giant spectrum that is gender and how you present that to the world. <-- This is what we're talking about.
  • Sexual orientation: This is how you define whom you are attracted to.

Check out the full video of iO's conversation below.

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Want to hear more from iO? Check out his TED Talk, and learn more about his photography project, "Self Evident Truths."