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The Beautiful Butch Project was born long before the term “Gender Identity” took it’s prominent place in public and social discourse.  

For many years, I have photographed myself, or asked others to photograph me, from a point of view inspecting my place as a woman in society.

Hey there, I'm Ora Cohen

The materials I use are photography and text. My latest project dealing with gender identity has been a lengthy process: the subjects I photograph are women who look like men, whom I find through Facebook and then make contact. With each subject, we talk and then shoot. I have photographed about 20 women and am close to completion of this project.

I grew up in a relatively conservative family and community, where very clear structures of how a woman should live, look, behave, wed, reproduce and function in this world were strictly maintained. I found myself clearly “out of place”, not being able to live up to the expectations of my family or those of society.

Self acknowledgement, of who I am, of being different, of my choices and my appearance, came only many years later. Years of malaise and vulnerability. Feeling exposed even as a small child, pulling on his mothers dress, asked: “mom, is that a boy or a girl”...

I have ventured on a search for women like me to photograph.

We are girls who look like boys. There is so much beauty in that - inside and out.

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