Because its National Coming Out Day, I feel moved to share the start of a photo series I'm still hoping to add a larger diversity of individuals from the LGBT+ community to before I fully release it. I've been emotionally heartbroken and moved by the stories of pain but also strength that those close to me in the LGBT+ community have faced in finding the courage in our society to come out and express their identities, and those who are still in the process of being ready to do so. Their stories inspired me to start this photo series.

So many of my LGBT+ friends have talked to me about the pressure they feel in our society to remain silent about their identity to avoid discrimination. Even, for some who have already come out as they approach new people and new environments. To me, it is not their responsibility to lessen themselves or remain silent for our comfort if they do not wish to. It's on us to create a society that empowers them to be open about their identities if they choose to share them publicly. I encourage us all to be more aware of our words, jokes, and actions in our lives that may be unconsciously causing our LGBT+ loved ones to feel like they are not in a safe space to express their identity to us or around us. We need to better as a society in fostering a safe space for all people to feel worthy and happy in their own skin. Because they are worthy, beautiful, and equal.

Ps. If you're a member of the LGBT+ community interested in being involved in this project as I move forward with shooting it, I'd really love to hear from you.


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