What We Do

Gender Portraits is a nonprofit project of the Austin Creative Alliance that advocates for sex and gender minorities through art. Our artist, Drew Riley, documents trans, intersex and gender nonconforming people through a series that pairs portraits of real people with their personal stories. We show the series in a variety of venues, using art as a gateway for education and advocacy. The artworks is also used in speaking engagements about sex and gender issues using Gender Portraits paintings and story excerpts to deepen the impact. Gender Portraits also creates events that educate the general public on gender issues while validating and uplifting trans and intersex communities. Our largest event is the Gender Unbound Art Fest where we annually showcase visual artists, musicians, and performers who are trans and intersex.

Our Team

Advisory Board - Drew Riley, Jae Lin, Sharky Althen, and Dukes
Executive Director - Drew Riley, she/her
Visual Arts Curator - Jae Lin, they/them
Stage Manager - Rocky Lane, he/him
Grant Writer and Organizer - Evan Mahony, they/them
Volunteer Coordinator - Lei Holford, he/him
Media Manager - Gwen Holford, she/her

Our Mission

Gender Portraits' mission is to advocate for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming people through art.

Our Vision

Gender Portraits envisions world where people with bodies, gender identities, or expressions of gender that exist beyond society’s gender norms don’t feel stigma or marginalization.

The History

The idea for Gender Portraits began in 2013 while transgender artist, Drew Riley, was working on a self-portrait, "Adelescence," for an art contest. Riley was deeply moved by how validating it was to see her true self affirmed through paint, and decided that she would use her skills as a fine artist to empower other trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming people. In the spring of 2014, Riley launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded the first release of the series consisting of 12 portraits and written stories in Jan of 2015. Since the initial series release, Riley has continued to add new work to the series and show her work all over Texas, talking about gender issues as she goes. In March of 2016, Gender Portraits became a nonprofit sponsored project of the Austin Creative Alliance. As a result, Gender Portraits has been able to grow in new ways, including the addition of an amazingly dedicated and talented team of community leaders who work to create events like the Gender Unbound Art Fest. Gender Unbound is an annual festival (supported in part by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Department) that uplifts dozens of trans and intersex artists, musicians, performers, and filmmakers each year and showcases our communities around our talents instead of around controversy or tragedy. If you want to help support the series, you can do so on our Patreon Page.

Are All the Subjects Transgender? 

From the beginning, we decided to call this project "Gender Portraits," and not "Transgender Portraits." Transgender people are a part of gender diversity, but they are neither the beginning or end of the gender spectrum. Intersex people, drag performers, and cisgender people who present outside of gender norms, are all examples of people with diverse bodies or presentations, but who may not be trans. It is our belief that we can not have a sophisticated conversation about gender without looking at all aspects of gender. This belief extends to all internationalities of trans and intersex communities. Because not all trans and intersex people's struggles and experiences are the same. The series is still growing and is not yet a complete picture, so if you feel that you do not see yourself represented in this work, please submit to be painted or contact us to begin a dialogue. We are always eager for new subjects and will be happy to share your story.

If you have any questions about the Gender Portraits project that were not addressed, please contact us.