Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The "We Are The Youth" photojournalism project

Meet Marina, a senior at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and daughter of a Mexican father and a Southern white woman.  She also identifies as queer and is one of the many young people profiled in a new photojournalism project by photographer Laurel Golio and journalist Diana Scholl called "We Are The Youth".

Through the project, Golio and Scholl hope to chronicle the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States and capture the diversity and uniqueness of the LGBT youth population.

Here is an excerpt from Marina's profile:
I identify as queer. Depending on who I’m talking to, I’ll identify as bisexual, but I think the word bisexual, to me, sort of means two genders, which isn’t necessarily how I see things. I understand two genders exists in society, but they aren’t inherent or necessary. But I go by female pronouns. More or less, I identify as female. That’s how I was raised to identify and how people view me. I’m a linguistics major, so I’ve thought a lot about these terms.

Being queer affects many aspects of my life beyond just sexual orientation. I work at the Center for LGBT Life, and the queer community here is very supportive. Other queer students on campus ended up being a pre-made social circle for me. Through the Office of LGBT Life, I've met so many people that I've really connected with. Almost all of my close friends are queer. Emory is my first experience with any queer community. I didn’t really have that in high school.
The project is still in its infancy and 2011 will bring the launch of a project-specific website.  But I wanted to highlight
it now because I just love the idea behind the project, particularly as it lets young queer youth speak for themselves through images and words.  One of the other current profiles is that of Derrick Martin, who famously challenged his high school to let him take his then-boyfriend Richard to the prom last year.

You can read his take on the media whirlwind that his bravery elicited as well as find out what happened after his parents thew him out of his home here.

It's definitely worth your time to go to the home page and work back from there.  You will meet quite an array of amazing individuals.

NOTE: The photo of Marina I've used for this post has been modified from the original by photographer Laurel Golio and used by permission.

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