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Pioneering Voices

Portraits of Transgender People


Prevent Bullying

Pioneering Voices has been used in schools, colleges, and communities to help create safe environments by developing empathy and caring in students, teachers, and staff members. A remarkable tool, this exhibit has been used to help prevent bullying and address bullying behaviors in thousands of venues world-wide

Pioneering Voices is a museum-quality traveling exhibit including photographs and interviews with people of all ages who are transgender and some of their partners and children. Through first-person accounts and positive images, this exhibit seeks to challenge damaging myths and stereotypes about transgender people and to educate people about this marginalized, and often invisible group of people.

This exhibit explores the many aspects of gender identity and variance by sharing these important, ground-breaking stories.  Pioneering Voices celebrates a range of views, opinions, and experiences that are unique and empowering to transgender people everywhere. At the most basic level, Pioneering Voices combats transphobia by breaking silence and making the invisible visible. By encouraging people of all ages to affirm and appreciate diversity, this traveling exhibit contributes to the process of dismantling the destructive power of prejudice and intolerance.  As a remarkable tool designed to prevent bullying and increase empathy, Pioneering Voices will help make the world a safer place for all people.

The photo-text exhibit consists of 15 ready-to-hang framed photographs and accompanying text panels. It was created under the auspices of Family Diversity Projects by Smith College intern, Jack Pierson, who took the photographs and interviewed the individuals. Peggy Gillespie, Editor-In-Chief of Family Diversity Projects collaborated with Jack Pierson to create the interview text.

“When I first wrote Heather Has Two Mommies, the first children’s book to portray a happy loving family of a little girl with two lesbian moms, I had no idea how many families my book would touch and support.  In a similar way, Family Diversity Projects touches people young and old with their ground-breaking exhibitions and books.  Like Heather Has Two Mommies, their exhibits have both caused controversy and educated thousands of people about the moral equality of LGBT people and their families. These marvelous exhibits travel throughout the world to schools, colleges, libraries, community centers, houses of worship, workplaces, statehouses, and conferences.  Wherever they are displayed, the FDP exhibits help to reduce discrimination and bullying of all people who are perceived to be “different,” leading to safer environments for LGBT children and adults.  Simply put, the exhibits are unique tools in the fight to dismantle homophobia and transphobia.”

Leslea Newman, Author, Heather Has Two Mommies