134 LGBTQIA People and Friends

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134 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) People and Friends - is a photographic look at what constitutes us beneath the title. *
Introduction

I'm looking for 134 people to volunteer themselves and an old piece of clothing to take part in a pictorial study of LGBTQIA* people and their supporters to reflect the inspirational role models we have in our community.

I am Miles Elliot, a portrait photographer who is contributing to a forthcoming equalities book by creating 134 portraits of LGBTQIA people (and our friends). All of the volunteer models to the project are painted with words that illustrate how in some way their sexual orientation and gender identity has shaped them as people. When pieced together the aim is to show a broad narrative of how our lives are more than the narrow stereotypical prism that they are perceived in some circles. In my opinion we have our own uniqueness and it deserves its own rightful voice. I further believe that our views can foster respect and bring about a greater respect of differences.

Are you LGBTQIA or a Supportive Friend Too?

The acronym ‘LGBTQIA often has negative connotations. These are the people who are seen as ‘them as opposed to ‘us’, those not quite belonging, those not quite fitting in, or conforming. Of course there are those who stand out deliberately, who choose to go against the grain, the ones who challenge established norms, who question the policies, beliefs and orthodoxies broadly accepted by those ‘on the inside’. Equally, this large conglomerate contains those who are indistinguishable from the broad norms. They deserve to be seen and heard as much as those who counter norms.

LGBTQIA and Friends are people spread across all sorts of backgrounds, be they the broad spectrum of ages, beliefs, ethnicities and socio-economic status. This portrait study explores and seeks to uncover a variety of lives that they lead, depicting the range of personalities and forms in the LGBTQIA communities (the diversity within our own community).

This study explores our relationship:
With ourselves,
With others,
With our families,
With our communities,
The role in which our sexuality and gender identity has contributed to who we are today.

This project aims to reveal something of the lives of 134 individuals, who perceive themselves as LGBTQIA or a supportive friend of this minority group in one way or another. It will illustrate how many experience the feeling of being LGBTQIA at some stage in their lives. These are personal stories. There is no sense of confirming or non-confirming, no sense of right or wrong. It is simply a snapshot reflection of our unique existence and experiences. Some will be celebratory, some will demonstrate strength, perseverance and fortitude, some will inspire, some will challenge and some will sadden. It will explore our achievements, the challenges that we have overcome and the challenges that have resulted in failure. Crucially, the study will also explore and seek to bring inspiration from our very ordinariness. I hope that everyone who views the completed project will recognise in these images and life stories, a little bit (or perhaps a lot) of themselves or of someone close to them.

What next? Get in touch with Miles

This project will be made up of volunteers who self-select themselves to it. There isn’t a list describing who I would especially like to volunteer to this project other than your being LGBTQIA or a supportive friend, and, are happy to represent what constitutes LGBTQIA people today. The breadth and depth of the final narrative will be a reflection of what you are willing to share with me.

Please do get in touch if you would like to share your experience and perhaps wish to volunteer yourself to become part of this fascinating non-commercial photographic project (mileselliotpictures@gmail.com). In return for taking part you will receive a high resolution digital copy of your image following completion of the project. Volunteers will also receive further information that will assist them in preparing for the actual photo shoot in advance of their agreed date.

Additionally, if you feel that I have overlooked an important element and you have an addition to suggest, I would like to hear from you.

Miles



* Glossary of Terms

Lesbian – A female- identified person who is attracted romantically, physically, or emotionally to another female-identified person.

Gay – A male-identified person who is attracted romantically, physically, or emotionally to another male-identified person.

Bisexual – A person who is attracted romantically, physically, or emotionally to both men and women.

Transgender – A person who is a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex.

Queer – An umbrella term which embraces a variety of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of those who do not adhere to the heterosexual and gender identity majority. The term queer includes, but is not exclusive to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transpeople, and intersex persons, traditionally, this term is derogatory and hurtful, however, many people who do not adhere to sexual and/or gender norms use it to self-identify in a positive way.

Intersex – Someone who’s physical sex characteristics are not categorized as exclusively male or exclusively female.

Asexual – A person who is not attracted to anyone, or a person who does not have a sexual orientation.

Friend – A person who does not identify as LGBTQIA, but supports the rights and safety of those who do