HRC Blog

In Their Own Words: Photo Essay Features LGBT Youth

The following is from HRC Editorial & Web Content Manage Carolyn Simon: [caption id="attachment_19445" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image property of Rachelle Lee Smith"][/caption] Rachelle Lee Smith has spent much of the last decade working on a photographic essay that explores the experiences of growing up as an LGBT youth – their joys, sorrows, accomplishments and struggles. We first shared the photographer’s story back in the winter 2008 issue of Equality magazine – she had just brought her exhibit, “Pride/Prejudice: Voices of LGBTQ Youth,” to HRC’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. Smith photographs each of her subjects against a stark white background – to strip out environmental influence, she says – and each youth’s image is accompanied by their personal story in their own handwriting. It is in their words, Smith says, that we are able to recognize the qualities that they share and what makes them unique. “I want to give a younger generation, one that is often underrepresented, the chance to be seen and heard, if by no other outlet, through these photographs,” Smith told HRC’s Equality magazine in 2008. “I want people to know that all young adults grow up with the same feelings, fear, anxiety and happiness as anyone else. Adding one more element to deal with might even make this particular group of people stronger.” Now, Smith is working to publish her work in book form so that it can reach a wider audience. Find out more about Smith’s project and how you can help her get her work published. And don’t miss her full Q&A that was excerpted in the winter 2008 issue of Equality magazine as well as a gallery of her images.
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