People have long speculated about why girls love horses, according to Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. She says that by identifying with these dynamic, strong animals, girls are expressing their own power. Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Corbis

Theresa Sparks is running for a spot on San Francisco's board of supervisors — and if elected, she will become the city's first transgender supervisor. Today, Sparks is open about her background — but for many years, she had a secret life. Courtesy Frank Gaglione/frankgaglione.com hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Frank Gaglione/frankgaglione.com

Laren Weddell (left), Yasmeen Sandoval (middle) and Brittany Poor Bear (right) completed their womanhood ceremony this summer. Nikki Silva hide caption

itoggle caption Nikki Silva
Deborah Luster

When Chris Abani was a boy, he toured the Nigerian countryside as an interpreter for his mother, Daphne Mae Hunt, who wanted to teach women about their menstrual cycles as a form of birth control. Courtesy Chris Abani hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Chris Abani

Helen Connors (right), who is part of a Traveller family, says she started school when she was 4 years old. But the community didn't take Traveller girls very seriously — and she says she was called a "knacker" and a "pikey." Nikki Silva hide caption

itoggle caption Nikki Silva

CB Stubblefield Courtesy of Sharon Ely hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Sharon Ely

Sam Clark, chef and Manor Garden allotment holder. Kitchen Sisters hide caption

itoggle caption Kitchen Sisters

An accordionist leads his band at the annual Sheepherders Ball. Roland Studio, ca. 1950. Courtesy John Odiaga. Basque Museum & Cultural Center hide caption

itoggle caption Roland Studio, ca. 1950. Courtesy John Odiaga. Basque Museum & Cultural Center