Updated: Jan 28, 2022
I’m queer. I’ve been a thousand versions of “out” throughout my life, including to myself. As I continue to discover what queer means for me- I’m guessing it will continue to happen too.
I moved to Houston 6 years ago and began my commercial photography career. I had been a vegetable farmer in New Jersey for 7 years, and didn’t know much about my new city or if it would be friendly to a queer person. Before I could come out to many folks, I discovered that sexism was an issue, along with homophobia. A few people told me that male photographers wouldn't hire me as an assistant. A few did, thankfully, but I took the note and decided by keeping quiet I would have fewer barriers in my way.
It didn’t feel great to be in the closet again. And as time went on loneliness drove me to reconsider coming out. I needed to connect with other queer folk in the industry, but when I started looking, I couldn't find them. I wasn’t able to find a single resource other than word of mouth. There was no system, no online communal space, not even an active message board.
In June 2021, I came out again. This time as a queer photographer. And while that was important for me personally, what I’d learned in the process was more valuable. I'd discovered how important the queer community is to me as a photographer, and how difficult it is to find.
Until I went looking for other LGBTQIA+ folks in photography and video, I didn’t know any. While I had queer friends outside of the industry, I hadn't realized how much I needed support as a professional too. As I’ve made a few connections, I’ve found I can be more honest, and grow more as a person and a professional when I'm a part of this community. And I know I’m not the only person who has been missing out on this.
It’s time for our community to connect. I’ve partnered with Jemma Dilag and Kate Warren to create a National LGBTQIA+ Photo and Video Industry Survey to help make this happen.
This survey is for all LGBTQIA+ folks in the photo and video industries. We want to hear from each of you. Whether you are an art director or photo retoucher, photographer, videographer, gaffer, stylist, or PA or digitech. We don't care if you’re in the closet or out to everyone you know. We want to connect with you, hear how you’re doing, and where our industry is - and is not - supporting you.
We want to know if you need advocacy, resources, community spaces or an LGBTQIA+ listing site. Whatever you need, we will find a way to make a difference with the information you share.
This is the beginning of a conversation. I’ve introduced myself, and now is your chance to reply. Take a few minutes to fill it out and share it with someone else. Your future friends can’t wait to hear from you.