Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.
This issue, we check in with Ran Flugstad, a Georgia native and Gulfport resident who loves Tampa Bay’s waterfront. The nonbinary artist, also “a pagan goddex with a tattoo addiction,” is an animal and plant enthusiast who draws inspiration from nature.
It’s evident both personally and professionally. Ran is one half of Ran & Rami Photography, a business they run “for the weirdos, the creatives, the non-traditional” with their partner Rami, who is also nonbinary.
The couple — whose “first date was the most magical day of my life,” Ran says — moved to Tampa Bay just before their two-year anniversary. In addition to wanting to be near the water, they wanted to cultivate their art.
“We do all types of photography, but we specialize mostly in LGBTQ+ weddings,” Ran says. Like its owners, the business welcomes one and all.
“We strive to make an inclusive and comfortable environment for every couple, triad or polycule,” Ran explains. “We both know how it feels to see no representation growing up and we want to change that! We want to normalize all types of love! We want to validate every type of person and love through our work.”
One way they do so is by offering gender-affirming photoshoots. They’re pay what you can and designed for clients to feel seen.
The photoshoots are open to anyone who wants to partake, Ran explains, but can be especially meaningful for trans clients. The photographer understands that firsthand.
“Sometimes you look in the mirror and it doesn’t feel like you’re looking at the person that you see yourself as,” Ran says. “So the shoots are a way where you can be your fullest self. You don’t have to do anything with the pictures … it can be something just for yourself.
“I like to pose people in a way that makes them feel most gender affirmed,” they continue. “It’s just a photoshoot to have fun and to get to see yourself in a light that sometimes you don’t always get to see yourself in.”
Ran says they’ve always been drawn to photography for reasons like that. They went to school for film and video but fell in love with wedding photography in particular.
“I think it’s really special getting to see queer love in all of its different forms,” they say. “I just really love capturing it.”
When they aren’t behind the camera, Ran enjoys a variety of books, film and TV. They most recently enjoyed Netflix’s “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” the reboot of the popular 80s cartoon. The groundbreaking series championed LGBTQ+ visibility throughout its five seasons.
“It’s incredible and I finally got Rami to watch it,” Ran says. “It’s one of my favorite queer shows of all time.”
They also recently finished reading “The Sunbearer Trials,” a Mexican-inspired fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Aidan Thomas. The novelist is also trans and Ran beams that their latest book is “oh my god, just ‘chef’s kiss.’ It’s so good.”
The photographer also loves spending time outside, whether they’re walking their dog, hiking or going on bike rides. They’re grateful to do in an affirming region.
“Gulfport and St. Pete are super queer,” Ran notes. “Rami and I look very queer, there’s no way to hide it, and we’ve always felt super welcome. I really enjoy that. The difficult part is if you go 40 minutes outside of the area — then it’s a completely different story.”
It’s something they wish would change, and soon.
“All of these anti-LGBTQ+ laws that have been put in place have been hard on me personally but also on the LGBTQ+ community in general,” Ran says. “It’s hard for all of us.”
One key way to combat it, they believe, is through representation. It’s why they wanted to participate in Visibili-T.
“I feel like a lot of the people who are putting these anti-trans laws in place, most of them have never seen a trans person or known anything about us,” Ran explains. “It’s important for them to see that we’re just people trying to live. It’s easier to hate people that you don’t know.”
Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.