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Vice's Broadly creates a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library

Heather Dockray

Stock photos don't have a great reputation when it comes to gender-inclusivity. Options are limited at best or non-existent at worst. 

That's why Vice Media's feminist channel Broadly decided to launch their own stock photo library of gender-inclusive images.  The Gender Spectrum Collection includes over 180 images featuring 15 trans and non-binary models. All of these photos have a Creative Commons license and are free for the public and media professionals to use.

SEE ALSO: United Airlines just made booking easier for trans and non-binary customers

"Broadly editors have worked diligently to think more thoughtfully and critically at how we represent trans and non-binary people in our work. But even at our best, we have been limited by the stock imagery available to us," Broadly Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Schrupp wrote in a letter

A transmasculine doctor at work

Image: the gender spectrum colletion/zackary drucker

As Schrupp notes, stock photos of trans folks in everyday settings are hard to find. Even as trans people have moved into the public spotlight, stock photo libraries fail to fully represent the community.

"Image searches for “gender fluid” on Getty Images tripled between June 2017 and June 2018, yet the three most downloaded photos of transgender people in the library at that time were all of a hand with a transgender pride symbol, without an identifiable face or body in the background." Schrupp writes. "This is typical of many stock photos: Trans people are rarely depicted as engaging with their communities or participating in public life, which severely limits the range of experiences we imagine transgender people to have."

A transgender woman drinks coffee

Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection/Zackary Drucker

Artist and photographer Zackary Drucker photographed all of the subjects. Photos are broken up by category, which includes lifestyle, relationships, technology, work, school, health, and moods.

"With this collection, we hope to encourage richer representations of trans and non-binary personhood within society’s most important mode of public communication, visually and editorially," the collection's usage guidelines explain. 

The photos are diverse not just in terms of gender identity but also in the ages, races, and cultures that are pictured. And unlike most stock photos, they're not profoundly corny. You don't see two office bros in blue shirts swapping jokes by the fax machine. No one is laughing in a field full of flowers. 

A transfeminine student tells a secret in class.

Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection/Zackary Drucker

Instead, people in the photos are doing what people in real life actually do: walking, drinking coffee, staring at their phone, and going to school. 

It sounds simple, but it's necessary.

WATCH: New Jersey now offers gender-neutral option on birth certificates

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