METAMORPHOSIS: How Alia Ismail became Issa Ismail


In high school, Alia Ismail was a dark-haired Arab-American beauty who dated good-looking guys and on the surface appeared to be a normal girl. But, during her senior year, she chopped her long locks into a short crop — the beginning of what would become her transition from female to male. Now, Ismail goes by the name Issa and identifies as an Arab-American queer transman.

Metro Times photography intern Liv Martin captured Ismail's transition, including his first testosterone injection, the fundraiser his family held in order for him to undergo a bilateral mastectomy and nipple graft (known colloquially as "top surgery" in the trans community), as well as many small but meaningful moments throughout his journey.

This slideshow contains a small fraction of the images Martin captured.

All photos by Liv Martin unless otherwise noted.