“We have a right to exist.”
This simple, but powerful statement on the importance of trans representation is why Yuval Topper-Erez recently decided to share his childbirth photoshoot with the world — intimate images of him sitting naked in a pool in England, during the home birth of his fourth child last year.
In a Facebook album that’s been shared over 230,000 times, Topper-Erez is seen in ways trans men are not often seen: Trans dads are rarely represented, with childbirth especially seen as an act only cisgender mothers can go through.
“The pictures were my way of saying we have a right to exist, to make our choices, to love, and to be respected,” he told PopSugar, following his remarks on international examples of transphobic laws.
Topper-Erez kept the photos within his own social circles at first, thinking they would solely be a “beautiful memoir” for his family. However, that changed once he saw the finished results.
“I suddenly got the sense that they need to be out there, as they represent so well two causes very close to my heart: Normalization of home birth, and normalization of trans and non-binary people giving birth,” he wrote in the album’s description.
Topper-Erez’s emotions are on full display as he deals with birthing pains in the album. Throughout, he’s seen being cared for by family and supporters, including two midwives and a doula.
Above all, the father of four hopes that the album is seen by other trans people, particularly trans dads-to-be.
“I know how meaningful images like this could have been for me before my first pregnancy and how meaningful it is for me to see images of fellow birthing trans and non-binary people to this day,” he wrote.
Topper-Erez gave birth to Tig, a happy, healthy baby boy last May. He’s continued to share Tig’s adventures, along with those of the rest of his family, on Instagram.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.