LGBTIQ-identified people around the world face various social pressures, whether it be a fight against legislation for marriage or the free reign to live as themselves. This project will document this range of experiences worldwide.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, queer-identified people inhabit every corner of the world all the while facing various social pressures to either conform or live freely. Listed below are some examples of this range:
Japan: Japanese culture views unmarried people as social outcasts, including those who are queer. Therefore, many queer magazines offer placement for marriage ads to find partners of a different sex who would be more like a best friend to help keep up appearances yet still help create a family.
Senegal: Nine men were arrested in Senegal for eight years over "indecent conduct and unnatural acts" because queer acts are illegal there. They were also considered part of a criminal group when they truly belonged to an association to fight HIV and AIDS. Because of this oppression, many queers are fleeing the country and those who do stay live socially marginalized.
Samoa: Fa’afafine are often considered a third gender or like "like women" within Samoan culture. Full acceptance of this identity with society is debatable, but these boys are raised as girls, whether by inclination of the kid or by need of the family, and perform duties both attributed to women and men, all the while remaining useful and hardworking members of society.
Holland: Amsterdam is often considered the queer mecca of Europe and features the world's first monument to honor persecuted queers. Beyond that, Holland as a whole grants same sex marriage and adoption rights.
These examples are just a tip of the iceberg of queer identities and issues experienced by people worldwide. Because minorities get pigeonholed into limited boundaries, I hope "Spectrum" would expand people's minds and conceptions of what it means to be queer in the our current world. At the same time, I hope that queer people seeing this will understand that they are not alone, no matter where they are and how they identify.
In the end, I want to transform these stories into a photobook and an interactive website containing all the stories. The book would also contain hand-written stories by the subjects explaining who they are in their society so they can have control over their representation as well. Plus, the website will have multimedia aspects, including video and audio.