Paradise City POV | 2024 – In Progress
I’ve lived in many varied areas, from city skyline to rural farmland, with all different types of people. Sometimes, you can get a feel for a place just by visiting. Or by policies that hit hard, like a law that bans you from fundamental human rights. Other times, a gut feeling may creep into your body long before your brain even realizes it should question why. But I’ve never experienced anywhere quite like Northampton.

As a transgender transplant wandering around downtown, the signals and signs were everywhere, often quite literally. From storefronts of local businesses to flagpoles of religious buildings, on street posts, lawn placards, at protests and parades, in art galleries, banks, medical facilities, museums, dressing rooms, and bathrooms.

It’s hard to lose focus on the intangible imprint this glaring public display of acceptance will have on those navigating a difficult path in life. From my point of view as a queer citizen behind the camera, Northampton, Massachusetts, has earned the nickname of Paradise City. Its colorful, welcoming vibe is clear to see, even in black and white.