Broadly, a Vice platform that covers “the hundreds of millions of us whose stories aren’t represented—or are often misrepresented—by traditional institutions,” announced today the launch of The Gender Spectrum Collection, a stock photo collection that features images of trans and non-binary models.
“We started this project to solve our own problem: We rarely had appropriate imagery that we could pair with the stories we were publishing on trans and non-binary people,” Lindsay Schrupp, Broadly’s Editor-in-Chief, said in a statement by email. “When we realized we at Broadly have the resources and connections to make our own gender-inclusive stock photo library, we wanted to give every publication, every ally, the tools to increase visibility for trans people. We also recognize that the media can still do better in avoiding harmful stereotypes, in not misgendering or deadnaming— the work is far from done. But we hope this is one small step in the right direction.”
The image library was inspired by the need to go beyond the binary with the images that media outlets use for stories every day. With the launch of this collection, Broadly hopes to help publications better represent members of the transgender and non-binary communities. Rather than using a cliché image of a person waving a trans flag, The Gender Spectrum Collection provides photos that don’t necessarily define the subjects by their gender identities but, rather, by their relationships, jobs, passions, and more.
Stock photos are a significant part of online media. From major publications to personal blogs, these images are often the go-to for illustrating an article’s content. But for many, stock pictures do more than just signal the content’s topic—they act as a visual representation of entire communities. When stereotypical images of transgender and non-binary are used, it limits the range of what we can imagine these individuals doing. They’re normal people with normal lives—media shouldn’t have to reduce them to stock characters just because they’re in stock photos.
Broadly is not the first publication to push for more diversity in stock images; however, they are the first to focus on gender identity. In 2017, Refinery29 partnered with Getty Images to launch the No Apologies Collection, a stock photo library that portrayed women of all body shapes, races, and experiences.
As individuals become more unique and true to themselves, it’s just as important that online media evolve to reflect that. Hopefully, The Gender Spectrum Collection’s launch will not only push publications to be more inclusive with their images but will also incite the kind of change that normalizes representation that extends beyond the binary.