|Shem, a Sista Girl photographed by Bindi Cole|
On the islands, Sista Girls or Yimpininni, their traditional name, are considered women. They are called "Aunty" or "Sister" by most family members and often start wearing girls’ clothes as early as kindergarten.
Despite this apparent acceptance, prejudice is still a painful reality, suicide a common occurrence and for a Sista Girl the prospect of finding a life partner is often daunting.
Australian contemporary artist Bindi Cole traveled to the Islands "to shoot the Sista Girls after previously photographing Tiwi Island drag performer Foxxy in 2008." In her work, "Cole explores aspects of indigenous identity and culture, and how that is reconciled with transgender identity with the influence of colonization."
(Sources: Nellie Castan Gallery and Wikipedia. Also thanks to Aunty Marlena for the heads-up about the Sista Girls.)