Naked calendar celebrates beauty and ‘autonomy’ of trans bodies: ‘We’re gorgeous and I love who I am’

An all-trans naked calendar is celebrating the beauty, diversity and joy of the community while raising funds for an important cause. 

The nude calendar was created by an all-trans team and features 58 models from across the trans community and parts of the country.

It’s raising money to secure a space for FORT – a trans/queer-led accessible space in London with a tattoo and massage studio, print workshop, production house, art and print shop – that can be a creative, safe space for LGBTQ+ folk in London. 

FORT founder Jamie Boy King, who is the creative director of the calendar, says it was also about trans people coming together to celebrate trans bodies and expressions on their own terms.

A black and white photo showing trans people being photographed for an all-trans nude calendar cover
An all-trans nude calendar is not only celebrating trans joy, but it’s also raising funds for a queer London space. (Beliza BuzolloEdi Whitehead and Kairo Urovi)

He recalls how he initially joked with friends that he should “just sell [his] nudes” to make the funding, and the quips sparked an idea that he could just “sell everyone’s nudes” at once.

Once he’d settled on the idea of a trans naked calendar, King reached out to people on Instagram to see who would want to feature, and was soon overwhelmed with the amount of interest. 

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All the while, they wanted to centre authentic, trans joy in a way that honoured individuals while making them feel safe. 

It was simple things about what makes you feel at home in your body, what makes you feel hot and euphoric.

Jamie Boy King

“I created a little form for people, and it was simple things about what makes you feel at home in your body, what makes you feel hot and euphoric, what do you not want to show and there was language that only a trans person could write to make it really great for trans people,” King says. 

It quickly became clear how significant the calendar was going to be as it was “celebrating trans people in another way they’ve never been celebrated before”. 

Images of trans people photographed for an all-trans nude calendar
The all-trans nude calendar is on sale now. (Beliza BuzolloEdi Whitehead and Kairo Urovi)

“We’re saying, ‘Yeah, we’re fine to be looked at as bodies if we get to control that narrative,'” King says. 

“I’ve been in shoots where [trans peoples’] needs have been completely ignored, we’ve just been there to box-tick as diversity and suddenly now we’re controlling the narrative.”

Graphic designer Aries Moross, who modelled for the calendar, says it was “brilliant” to be a participant because it felt “really thoughtful and intentional”, especially as they are normally on the other side of the camera. 

“I was a bit nervous to take part because I haven’t been naked in a room full of people as myself in a very long time,” they say. “I think the whole experience was wonderful and quite emotional.”

Photographer Beliza Buzollo and Jamie Boy King on set of an all-trans nude calendar photoshoot
Aries Moross says it was important to highlight “all the combinations of body features” to show that trans bodies and genders are “diverse”. (Beliza BuzolloEdi Whitehead and Kairo Urovi)

Moross explains they didn’t have trans bodies to look at while growing up, so to think they could be a resource for others was quite moving.

They describe how the calendar features trans people who are short, tall, plus size, hairy and “all the combinations of body features” – showing that “our bodies are diverse, and gender is diverse”. 

“To see trans bodies displayed in such a beautiful way is so important,” they say. “It’s not that we want to be desirable to others – that’s not the intention – to be desirable to ourselves is such an undertaking.” 

They continue: “This calendar is like, ‘Look at us, we’re sexy and gorgeous as trans people are, but also look at me. I love who I am, and I’m happy with myself.’

We’re sexy and gorgeous as trans people are, but also look at me. I love who I am, and I’m happy with myself.

Aries Moross

“There’s this narrative that trans people are always ashamed or want to hide, and this flips that completely being like we’re actually here living our best lives. 

“And the true progression for all of us – cis or trans – is for us to feel happy in ourselves, in our bodies, in our genders.” 

Trans creator and influencer Max Siegel, who also modelled in the calendar, said it was about “returning autonomy to their rightful owners”. While on the shoot, Siegel recreated Adam Levine’s famous Men’s Health cover, standing nude with his hands covering his genitals – a pose which almost got him, and other trans people, suspended from Instagram (while Levine’s identical image circulates freely).

“As a trans person, my body often doesn’t feel like my own,“ Siegel says. “We are politicised, restricted and instructed in our existence more than we are allowed the privilege of self determination afforded to cis people.

“The trans naked calendar and FORT are returning trans autonomy to their rightful owners. It is no coincidence that this picture caused Instagram to try to suspend my account. In a universe where our bodies are policed at any opportunity, it feels indescribably powerful to take ownership of our beauty and joy.”

Max Siegel recreates Adam Levine’s Men’s Health cover in this exclusive image, which does not appear in the calendar. (Edi Whitehead)

The theme of the calendar, which is on sale now, is around trans people “having to do things themselves”, and every single scene was shot in a different room of the abandoned-hospital-turned-guardianship-property King lives in.

There’s a domestic scene with trans people cooking and cleaning, another featuring a life-drawing session where everybody’s trans, a tableau of people fashioning their clothing ,and a moving house scene that King says is a “nod to chosen family”. 

“The story of trans people, that can echo into everybody, is about just taking that autonomy and being like: ‘What the world gave me doesn’t work for me so I’m gonna find it myself.'”

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