For this body of work, I invited members of queer communities in the San Francisco Bay Area to collaborate with me in developing a form of participatory portraiture considering the impact of cultural lineage on the shaping of queer histories. The project dives into the intersectionality of racial and gender identities while expressing varied manifestations of queer heritage and sexuality.
Comprised of 69 unique collaborations, the work creates photographic representations based on queer visibility, inverting the role of the photographer as I join each participant in the picture. By inserting myself into the photograph, I am invested in activating a dialogue about the possibilities that can happen when the photographer leaves the space behind the camera to join their collaborators in front of the lens, when the discussion is no longer about the "other" but it is now about us.
“I am a queer black person. As a descendant of the Southern slave trade, I’m flipping the script of patriarchy,” avows Beatrice Thomas. “Like the Black Panthers, I’m a protector of my community, claiming female power.”
Aron Kantor is a Jewish man from Idaho. As a child, his dream was to become a figure skater. But his father didn’t allow it, deeming it too effeminate.
Lark Alder grew up in Southern California feeling ostracized from the surf beach culture for being a queer woman. “Surfing is about finding balance. When you are on the wave, you are on a liminal space: in between. I associate that to being queer.”
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a.k.a. Faluda Islam) grew up in Pakistan. In Arabic poetry, a deer often symbolizes an effeminate young man. In Brazil, the word deer ('veado') is commonly used as a slang to insult gay men.
"In Black America during my childhood, there were many euphemisms for gay men. We are sweet, like sugar and candy—taboo and desired," says Ramekon O'Arwisters, who grew up in North Carolina. "He's got sugar in his loafers," his father used to say.
“I reimagine Ophelia as a survivor,” affirms Monique Jenkinson, whose alter ego named Fauxnique uses drag to consider the performance of femininity as a powerful, vulnerable and subversive act.
Chase Conrad started playing sports when he was 6 years old. As an athlete from Pasadena, CA, he didn't have any gay role models growing up.
Amber Field was born in Korea and adopted as a baby by a white American woman who worked in the US Foreign Service. "Raised on a horse farm in the Midwest, I face the wild ride of being queer and non-binary in these traditions and in the many other cultures I've lived."
A. S. is Iranian. “I left Iran carrying my queer identity as a secret, as there was a lot of cultural shame. Like the expectation of a woman marrying a man, there are still existing traditional norms challenging the freedom of gender expression."
Marcela Pardo Ariza  was born in Bogotá, Colombia. Coming from a catholic background, she left home at the age of 16 and lived in Indiana for 4 years. "Against all odds, I came out of the closet as a baby queer Latinx in the conservative Midwest. It was scary, visceral, and subversive," she says.
As a queer kid raised in Minnesota, Stephen Sokolouski found solace in playing the cello. Music and fashion were instrumental in the exploration of their queer identity from a young age. Stephen uses gender-neutral “they/them/their” pronouns.
Ron Moultrie Saunders is originally from Jamaica, Queens. We are wearing female and male clothes that his mother brought from Senegal on her first trip to Africa in the 1980s.
Nick Wafle throws parties in Los Angeles and San Francisco, inspired by gay leather culture from the past. Each party is named after a leather bar or club that no longer exists.
Chalwe Ranney grew up in Zambia. Homosexual practices have been present in his Bemba tribal culture for centuries. Homosexuality is otherwise illegal in the country.
"Growing up in the United States, I have been asked if I lived in a teepee and what ‘kind’ of Indian I was," says Bhumi Patel. "For brown folks, I'm often seen as too queer, and for queer folks, I'm often seen as too brown."
Erhan Erdem grew up in Turkey with the common understanding that men who wear an earring in their right ear were gay with a preference for playing a passive role during sexual practices. "When two men have sex," he adds, "only the passive one is considered a homosexual, often bearing the stigma of being called ‘ibne’, a faggot."
Justin Hall is an American cartoonist who grew up in Rhode Island. “I came into contact with Mexican lucha libre upon traveling to Latin America in my mid-20s back in the 1990s. I was immediately captivated by the masks, the sweaty intensity, and the extra layer of super-heroic elements.”
Joe Elwin's mother is African American and French. He describes his father as a Caribbean mutt.
Growing up in England, Carrie Morrison detested having to wear a male uniform in school. She always knew she was not a boy.
As I held his hands, Arthur Tress said to me: "You really look like one of my ancestors who has come to take me away."
Marco Arellano is from Lima, Peru. “I wanted to feel your energy,” he said to me after I asked why he touched his forehead on my hand during our photoshoot.
"I hope to underscore with this image the absurdity of fitting a round peg (queers) into a square hole (the heteronormative paradigm), while highlighting the personal tension between what society expects/demands of me and my actual dreams and desires," Jader told me.
Growing up in Canada, Katie Bush had very little exposure to gay culture, until she saw artists like Boy George & Grace Jones on TV. Through them, she grew to recognize that fashion could be a form of political armor used to find community and self-sustaining queer strength & resistance.
"Being masculine meant getting married and having kids," says Melesio Nuñez, who grew up in a Catholic family in Santiago Papasquiaro, Mexico.

Kevin Seaman loves hyper-masculine men and embodying hyper-femininity as drag queen LOL  McFiercen. “Someday I won’t feel shame about my feminine masculinity and can teach the world the difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity,” he expressed while doing our makeup.

“Rural suburbia kept me feeling buried for far too long. I had no gay peers,” says Kevin Clarke, an actor descended from Irish farmers, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
After graduating high school in economically disadvantaged Appalachia, Corey Christopher's family expected him to join the US Armed Forces, as it was seen as a pathway to a better life. But homosexuals were not allowed to serve in the military in those days.
"I'm Mexican born, honoring the remnants of my indigenous legacy at every step and breath of my path," says Gisella Ramirez who grew up in East Los Angeles. "Cultures are not meant to be stagnant, they are meant to evolve," she states.