Revealing Selves

Transgender Portraits from Argentina

A beautifully photographed exploration of what it means to be transgender in Argentina—part of a series of photobooks on LGBTQ communities around the world

“We can be more than beauticians or sex workers. We don’t have to spend our lives standing on street corners in high heels and bright lipstick, in the rain and cold. Enough of that.” —Silvana Sosa after the passing of Argentina’s Gender Identity Law

Argentina was the first nation in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. It also passed legislation making it one of the most advanced countries worldwide in terms of transgender rights—the culmination of a long battle fought by LGBTQ support groups.

In the beautifully packaged and affordably priced Revealing Selves, award-winning photographer Kike Arnal collaborates with individuals in Argentinian transgender communities, living side by side with them and documenting their day-to-day lives in a series of strikingly intimate color and black-and-white images. Among them are a former sex worker who is now a recognized leader of the Buenos Aires trans community, a single trans mother of three teenage girls whose partner had fallen victim to drug abuse, and the residents of the Hotel Gondolin, a small, derelict family hotel now inhabited by a few dozen trans women.

And yet despite the progress, the situation in Argentina is far from perfect. Trans people are still discriminated against and subject to verbal violence, physical assault, and police abuse. Of interest to LGBTQ activists and photography enthusiasts alike, Revealing Selves is both a celebration of the trans community in Argentina and a clear-eyed examination of what remains to be done in the struggle for trans rights.

Revealing Selves was designed by Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios (EWS).


“Kike Arnal has done it again. As with his previous book, Bordered Lives, about trans people in Mexico, in Revealing Selves Arnal’s lens frames the daily lives of trans people in Argentina with honesty and compassion. He has a gift for capturing small moments that display the richness of his subjects’ lives in evocative detail.”
—Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution
Revealing Selves helps to capture the beauty and complexity of the transgender community in Argentina. We exist in every corner of the world, so it is critical for people to see us, openly and unapologetically, in every place we exist. Nuestro existir es resistir.
—Jennicet Gutiérrez, transgender activist and founding member of La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
“This book beautifully captures glimpses of the resilient spirit of transgender and gender non-conforming people from Argentina. These powerful images demonstrate examples of the power and nuance of gender diversity all across Latin America. Transgender Latinas are powerful examples of bravery and tenacity which this book beautifully illustrates.”
—Isa Noyola, translatina activist and deputy director of the Transgender Law Center
“From its introduction to its last image, Revealing Selves is a vital contribution to Latin American LGBTQ studies. Above all, the book highlights a central paradox of transgender life in contemporary Argentina: the struggle for acceptance, respect, and survival in one of the world’s most successful nations in advancing transgender rights.”
—Omar G. Encarnación, professor of political studies at Bard College and author of Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution
“Argentina has emerged as a pioneer in seeking to protect trans people, reflecting how Latin America can lead the way in expanding the definition of civil rights. As Kike Arnal makes clear with his striking photographs, such advances are hard-fought, complex, and vulnerable to reversals. His images provoke crucial questions about what it means today to persist in the face of obstacles, build a family, and follow the pursuit of happiness.”
—Simon Romero, national correspondent for the New York Times
“It takes a rare artist to find beauty and power in a small intimate moment and give it a greater meaning that can create a broader social awareness. In this touching set of images, Kike Arnal gives a community desperately in need of a voice hope to be seen for who they truly are.”
—Shaul Schwarz, Emmy Award–winning documentary filmmaker

Books by Kike Arnal

Bordered Lives
Transgender Portraits from Mexico

Kike Arnal