Riccardo Simonetti is among the subjects of Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert's photo book "Gender as a Spectrum." In the book, Ohlert includes interviews with each subject so they can present themselves in a way they feel comfortable with. "Even if my feminine appearance often creates the impression that I'm trying to inhabit a female role, I see myself as and feel myself to be male," said Simonetti, who calls himself a model, blogger, self-expressionist and dreamer. He said "not a day goes by without insulting looks, comments or threats."
This Berlin-based artist, whose name is stylized in the book as ingoe.deltraut (van leer), defines gender as "a wonderful variety of bodies with minds and souls."
"I'm physically a boy and I feel very happy about it, but I love to play with the gender identities," said Alejandro Rodrigo, a physiotherapist from Paris also known as Mariska.
Virginia Wilson, aka Gin, is a bar assistant from London. "I'm new to the Drag King scene in London," said Wilson, who identifies as female. "Drag for me is a little bit of a protest. I see it as a bit of a joke on the system that defines your gender and sexuality and the role you play in society for you. It's imaginative and creative and a protest."
Hedi Mohr is a performance artist in Berlin. "It gives me precious little to find definitions that describe me best," Mohr said in the book. "What's the use? So that other people can better know where to position me, and so that they no longer feel uncomfortable because they think they need to understand what I am? 'What are you, actually?' 'Hello, I'm Hedi. Who are you?' "
Daniella, aka Aerea Negrot, is a musician in Berlin. "Since childhood, my gender has been one great riddle. Despite the fights and misunderstandings with my parents, my family and other children, those feelings persisted. I loved to dress up as a girl when others weren't around. My male name didn't fit me at all."
Levi is a private gardener and classical life model in New York City. "While many find it offensive to be called transgender by itself, I find it empowering. Transness and trans-femmehood are just as valid in their own right."
"I used to define myself as being in the 'gray area,' but now I am fonder of purple," said LeMay, an entrepreneur and "provocateur" in San Francisco. "Personally, I would rather not define (gender) at all. No definition works for everyone, and gender does not describe who I am."
"The main problem is that most of society mistakes gender for sexuality," said Lucienne Emily Lucke, a singer in Vienna, Austria. "If a man finds me attractive without knowing about my original biological gender, he's most certainly not homosexual, since I exude female stimuli. If I were to tell him and he reacted with 'I'm not gay, that won't work,' he would be contradicting himself."
Buck Angel is a porn actor, producer and trans activist in Mexico City. "Gender is a very individual experience," he said. "I define myself as a man. My outer appearance defines me as a man. However, I also feel very comfortable saying that I am a man with a vagina. In the end, that is not what defines me though. There are many aspects that make me who I am."
"In my heart I was born female, but not in my body," said Ivy September Rosenauer, a model, stylist and DJ studying design technology in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Gender for me is being the person you feel and are on the inside. It has nothing to do with your physical appearance."
Ryan Stecken works in advertising by day and is a "drag boy wonder" by night. "I've never really succumbed to one specific gender identity," said Stecken, who's from Berlin. "My mother always complained I wasn't feminine enough and I used to see myself as 'one of the guys.' At some point I started hanging out with a lot of gay friends and realized I completely identified with them. Now I'm a gay man with breasts."
Adam Thomas, aka Hllywyd, is a singer, songwriter and performer in Berlin. "There was a time at which I wanted to be female, because I wanted to have more sex," he said. "I always tried to be as feminine as possible so I could hook up with straight men. It felt great at that time because I could give away control. It was if I was driven by someone else. Now, though, now that I am more of an adult, sex doesn't play such a big role anymore and I feel more and more comfortable in my own body and leave it just the way it is. Right now, I have fallen in love with it again."
"I am so sick of the 'man or woman' questions!" said Gloria Viagra, a DJ and singer in Berlin. When asked, "How do you define your gender?" Viagra responded with "extendable at any time."