As We Are

by | Jul 1, 2021 | 0 comments

  • Annia Leonard (they/them) is a queer, non-binary femme from Milwaukee. They are an event coordinator, model, community connector, teacher, and youth organizer with Uplifting Black Liberation and Community, or UBLAC. This year they decided to enter a pageant for Miss Wisconsin USA 2021 to raise money for a local organization Brave Green Wave Trybe.
  • Anna (Ladi London) (she/her) is a transwoman. She is a community leader, activist, and co-founder of the Black Rose Initiative. Anna is a survivor of hate crime violence.
  • Madyun Wilson (they/them) is a dancer, choreographer, and visual artist. They live in Milwaukee and teach ballet.
  • Taylor Staples (she/her) & Noel Johnson (they/them). Taylor and Noel met in passing at Pridefest in 2019. Later that year, they reconnected through a mutual friend at a local music festival. They immediately were drawn to one another and have been inseparable since. The couple lives in Bayview with their beloved pets. They love to spend their time exploring Wisconsin’s beautiful outdoors, doing DIY projects, and enjoying live music. Taylor works as a family services coordinator for a Head Start program. Noel is a ride-share driver along with working on other freelance projects.
  • Elle Halo (she/her) is a Black trans activist. She is a writer, community leader, organizer, and LGBTQ health equity advocate.
  • Alex (they/them) & David (he/him) were photographed in their backyard. Alex is a non-binary/genderqueer person, who grew up in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are an artist and a model. David grew up in a rural area and currently works in the IT industry.

I grew up in Russia where being LGBTQ is illegal. This community is denied basic human rights, and it is dangerous for them to be who they are openly, let alone photographed as such. And while there has been social progress made in America, there is still much room for improvement. And the stories of those I have photographed bear witness to this fact. 

Photographing LGBTQ people, giving them voice and visibility, I am trying to push back on gender norms that were put on me. I also hope to break the stereotypes and stigmas that have surrounded the community for far too long.

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