The Kids of Camp I Am

Lindsay Morris

2008 - Ongoing

The Kids of Camp I Am is part of a decade-long series that began with, You Are You, a photo essay, monograph, and documentary, of participants at a pioneering retreat for gender-expansive children and their families called Camp I Am. With my follow-up project, The Kids of Camp I Am, my intention is to reach beyond the confines of the camp to contribute to the important discourse about support in the lives of gender-creative children, and to hear, in their own voice, from the participants a decade later. I seek to open a dialogue about how non-judgmental environments can provide crucial, life-changing support, paving a road with wide-ranging gender expressions in life.

I came to this project not just as a documenter, but as a participant. When my son was three years old, we began to notice his fascination with his reflection, teetering in my heels, the higher the heel the brighter he shone. It was through observing him as he anxiously and joyously layered on and tore off bright fabrics, all the while despairing that he was not born a girl, that I began to seek out other families with like-minded children. This resulted in my deeply personal engagement with this pioneering community.

My goal is to photograph and interview twenty-five more former campers for a book I view as an important component of the project, raising its profile and expanding its reach worldwide. The visual perspective of the project at once intimate and universal, emotionally vulnerable and heroic.

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  • Elias in an outfit he designed and constructed to echo a dress worn at camp in 2011.

  • Colorful chaos ensues moments before Elias and his fellow campers hit the stage for the long-awaited fashion show, the highlight of Camp I Am.

  • Danny relaxes on moss-covered boulders after a rigorous hike near his home (2021).

  • Danny applies make-up (2012).

  • Preparing for the fashion show in one of many gowns donated to Camp I Am (2011).

  • Ryan, a former Camp I Am camper, cools off in her urban backyard pool (2021).

  • Ryan, a former Camp I Am camper, cools off in her urban backyard pool.

  • 10-year-old Ryan and her friends participate in typical summer camp activities (2011).

  • Theater student, Nicole, poses on her university stage (2021).

  • Nicole's first time taking the stage for the fashion show at Camp I Am (2013).

  • Tavish's room (2020).

  • Tavish gazes in the mirror near a 2010 photo of her younger self at Camp I Am.

  • Tavish (2010).

  • Stefi poses in a favorite dress and heels in the desert at sunset (2021).

  • Stefi in 2011 walking the fashion show runaway as family members show their support.

  • Stefi takes a moment to pose minutes before jumping on stage for the Camp I Am fashion show (2010).

  • Hannah, in a similar style dress to one that she favored at camp, sits for a portrait in her bedroom (2020).

  • Hannah, taking some downtime with friends at camp between events (2011).

  • Zach takes a break in Honolulu from his job as an au pair (2021).

  • In front of the "Red Barn" (2010).