Charley Dean Sayers’ photo book, ‘November 17th’, is an uncensored account of her transition

The model and artist's debut photo book, 'November 17th', shines a light on transitioning in a completely unadulterated way.

Charley Dean Sayers, a model and artist from South London, has created a powerful and intimate photo book titled November 17th, which offers an unflinching account of sex-reassignment surgery.

“I knew that I had to remain loyal to the girl that went through this experience. It was not easy, but despite all odds, I continued to take pictures,” says Sayers. In 2017, at the age of 18, Sayers flew to Thailand to undergo the procedure, carrying vintage cameras to document the journey.

The book, named after the date of the surgery, is a raw and honest portrayal. It includes not just photographs of the invasive surgery and its aftermath, but anxious portraits that speak to Sayers’ frame of mind at the time. These images are collated with diary entries and medical notes, creating a comprehensive narrative of the experience.

Sayers’ mother was also present in the Chon Buri province of Thailand, and the book serves as an ode to her support. “[November 17th] juxtaposes the harsh and sometimes gruellingly graphic realities of medical transition amongst the gentility of boundless parental love,” Sayers explains.

The timing of November 17th is particularly poignant. It comes at a time when the UK’s trans community is facing significant prejudice, and initiatives like The Cass review threaten young trans people’s access to gender-affirming care. Sayers acknowledges the political landscape’s influence on the book: “I had to consider the context of the existing global debate around young trans people and their bodies. There’s always going to be people who hold a mild or extreme curiosity pertaining to this topic, and with the current governments, that will not change any time soon.”


November 17th is available to purchase here

WriterAmber Bean Rawlings
Banner Image CreditCharley Dean Sayers