My Girl is a Boy

Melissa Ianniello


My Girl is a Boy is the story of Davide, a trans boy, as our love story was ending up.

If you are a trans person and your appearance still corresponds to the sex you were assigned at birth, society automatically identifies you with that sex, without respecting your self-determination of your gender identity. As long as Davide does not look canonically masculine, society will continue to identify him as a girl. But Davide does not need society to confirm his identity: he is and always has been a boy. Hence the title, which can also be read in another, complementary sense; ironically, it highlights the fact that labels often collapse in the face of the complexity of real life, in a short-circuit of the system with which we perceive love: I, a lesbian, and my girlfriend, in reality a boy.

When I start portraying Davide, we have just started living together. My initial intention is to document his transition over the years. I photograph him, and in doing so, I talk about us. We believed that love would have enabled us to overcome any obstacle – even our respective identities, so complex, and our different sexual orientations. Davide discovers himself, recognizes himself, is in the midst of his self-determination: an identity regeneration. I observe. I am convinced that I am continuing on the path with him, but it slowly becomes clear that our roads are separating: sometimes, it is not enough to love each other in order to stay together.

This may seem bitter, but actually it is only the prelude to a new beginning – the story continues. My Girl is a Boy thus takes on a universal meaning: it becomes the story of those who, in order to find themselves, let go of something. Davide's story therefore shifts the focus from romantic love, where two people complete one another, to self-love, where each person completes themselves.

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