Revealing Portraits of LGBT Youth

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“I highly hold onto my evangelical roots even though they sort of slapped me in the face a little bit,” says Braxton, age 20 from Auburn, Alabama. “But I grew up believing certain things, and just because I’m gay doesn’t mean they don’t make sense to me anymore.” We Are Youth chronicles the diverse life stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth across the United States, as photographed by Laurel Golio, interviewed by Diana Scholl, and told by the subjects themselves. They’re revealing and personal, touching on subjects of bullying, gender identity, and military service. They’re honest. They’re direct. They’re not explaining themselves to some outsider but merely sharing their own personal experience. The same goes for the photographs. A few of these portraits were exhibited at the Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art earlier this month. Check them out below, and see more at the project’s website.

Michelle, Age 20, Bronx, New York, 2011. Photograph by Laurel Golio

“You’re not going to pass the opportunity for having true love. He is guiding me right now. He loves me no matter what.”

Magda, Age 17, Brooklyn, New York, 2010. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“All the sergeants know I’m gay, indirectly. They joke around about it, but they love me so they don’t care.”

Trevor, Age 20, Montevallo, Alabama, 2010. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I’m closer with my twin brother than anyone else in the world. When he came out to me as gay after high school, I had already been out since I was 16.”

Braxton, Age 20, Auburn, Alabama, 2010. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I realized I was gay in probably the 7th grade. But if I had come out then, I would have been expelled.”

Hot Sause, Age 17, Nyack, New York, 2011. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I think I want to be a music therapist… I want to bring joy into the lives of people who feel like they’re forgotten.”

Isaac, Age 16, New York, New York, 2011. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I was confused about how I felt. I didn’t feel like a girl, but I didn’t feel very masculine either. I never played sports, I didn’t like cars.”

Anna, Age 19, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 2010. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I’d go to Sunday school and people would be like, ‘Is that a little boy or a little girl?’ My mom would be like, ‘Why does it matter?'”

Patrick, Age 18, Auburn Alabama, 2010. Photograph by Laurel Golio, Interview by Diana Scholl

“I’ve never really experienced bullying. I don’t know why. I’m pretty flamboyant, so you would think I’d be the ultimate target for anti-gay slurs.”