Bordered Lives

Transgender Portraits from Mexico

A beautifully photographed exploration of what it is to be transgender in Mexico

San Francisco Chronicle on Kike Arnal’s In the Shadow of Power

A richly evocative collection of photographs by internationally renowned photographer Kike Arnal, Bordered Lives seeks to push back against the transphobic caricatures that have perpetuated discrimination against the transgender community in Mexico. Despite some important advances in recognizing and protecting the rights of its transgender community, including legislating against hate crimes targeting transgender people, discrimination still persists, and the majority of the violent attacks against the LGBT community are against transgender women.

In the highly personal profiles that make up Bordered Lives, Arnal takes us into the lives of seven individuals in and around Mexico City. He shows them going about their day-to-day lives: getting ready in the morning, interacting with family and friends, and devoting their lives to helping others in the transgender community.

Deeply honest, sensitive, and humane, Bordered Lives challenges society’s preconceived notions of sexuality, gender, and beauty not only in Mexico but across the globe.

Bordered Lives was designed by Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios (EWS).


“Photography can make a powerful contribution to the spread of tolerance simply by making people visible to each other. That is just what Bordered Lives does, without fuss or frills.”
—Peter Galassi, former chief curator of photography, The Museum of Modern Art
“Too often the faces around us are lost and their stories are ignored. The photographs in Bordered Lives allow us to linger and discover new worlds.”
—David Mixner, author of Stranger Among Friends
“A record of the lives of courageous Mexicans who have taken nontraditional gender out of the category of the freakish and into the realm of the humanly possible. Breathtaking.”
—Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Looking for History and The Heart That Bleeds

News and Reviews

The Advocate

Read an excerpt of Bordered Lives in The Advocate.

Books by Kike Arnal

Revealing Selves
Transgender Portraits from Argentina

Kike Arnal

Goodreads Reviews