A little about my project, and why, this subject means something to me, as a straight, cis Gender woman.
Being in the theater throughout school and college, I was often around gay men and women, and I struggled to reconcile the people I knew from what I had grown up “knowing” about them. What I found was a community that was often, warm, supportive and understanding of my hopes and dreams of Broadway, much more so than many in the conservative Christian community I grew up in. From a young age, what I felt from them was judgment and distaste in what I felt was my calling. Including one moment sitting in my bible college’s cafeteria where I was told that becuase I didn’t want to do “Christian” theater that, “God would deal with me.”
My feelings are that if MY experience as a straight, cis gender girl was this judgmental and isolating, then how much worse must it be for LGBTQ youth?
While many of the LGBTQ men and women I know are not Christian, for many different reasons, that is not always the case. When someone of faith, is also part of the LGBTQ community, why should they feel like they can not participate fully? Sometimes, they are lucky, and I have seen friends that continue to act out their faith while also being true to who they are. But, I have also seen friends who believe that who they are in and of itself is a sin, and have watched as they struggled with depression and self loathing, trying to reconcile how God made them with what the church around them is telling them about how God made them. My hope with this project is to help the next generation of LGBTQ youth to be able to embrace both their sexuality / gender identity as well as their faith.
One thing Jesus did was meet with, sit down with and eat with those that were the outcasts of the time, bringing them INTO his fold proving you can be both a tax collector and follower of Christ. In that way, I also hope to help those who are in the church and feel like you can’t be both Christian and LGBTQ, to realize that in fact, like being a Christian doesn’t keep me from being a Liberal, being a Christian doesn’t stop man from being gay, or vice versa. Additionally for those who are both, that they are not alone, and that they CAN be both. Christ loves them, he MADE them, and that it’s not an either / or type of situation.
I don’t pretend that this will not be a controversial topic, post or exhibit* (because I hope to have a gallery showing for this project once finished as well). While I don’t plan on listing peoples last names or anything, these are images that could cause backlash from those that disagree with the message.
What will you get if you participate? I cannot offer monetary compensation at this time. However, I can offer a print of your favorite shot from our shoot and watermarked images for social media.
At this time I want to capture about 3-5 images of who you are in a snapshot, and our loved ones are a big part of that. I welcome you to include spouses, partners, parents, children or fur babies. I am looking to possibly do a large group shoot that will then allow for smaller portrait shoots within it as well if needed.
* A portion of all proceeds (if any) from this project will go toward a local LGBTQ charity TBA. (I’m still researching the best options)
To participate, please fill out the form so we can create art together!