Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh yeah, he’s gay. You can tell- he totally looks gay”? However, there is no “way” to look gay, rather various gender identities and performances. Often we conflate certain gender performances with certain sexual orientation, which is not always accurate. io Tillett Wright wants to shatter that myth with her project “Self Evident Truths”.
The video (featured at the bottom of the article) showcases photographer io Tillett Wright and her project to photograph anyone who falls across the LGBTQ spectrum—basically as she says pretty much anyone who isn’t 100% straight. Her project covers many noteworthy areas about the LGBTQ community. First, I love her recognition of sexual orientation existing on a spectrum, even though our current labels tend to make them rigid and discourage fluidity.
She explains, “my goal is to show the humanity that exists in every one of us, through the simplicity of a face.” The video shows people of all races, ages, sexes, genders, and beyond to display how there is not one common “look”. Society reduces LGBTQ identities to preconceived notions of gender performance and sexual identity, such as the expectation of all lesbian women to be butch when that is far from the case. Her project highlights the differences throughout the community that need to be noticed and celebrated.
Also, I love that the video focuses on LGBTQ matters beyond marriage equality. The video states,
“There is no equality in the United States. The fight for equal rights is not just about gay marriage. Today, in 29 states, more than half of this country, you can legally be fired, just for your sexuality.”
It is important for us when discussing LGBTQ rights to note there are multiple areas where the community is being marginalized; it isn’t all about marriage equality. I think this project can help humanize the issues and bring to light misconceptions people may have of the LGBTQ community, because as Wright says “I challenge you to look into the faces of these people and tell them that they deserve less than any other human being.”