Qwill, 20, Northfield, MN, I feel like my gender is kind of a pendulum. Sometimes I feel more feminine, sometimes I feel more masculine, but I definitely swing somewhere between the genders. I don’t really have a pronoun that I prefer, so people just always use female pronouns. It’s kind of complicated if I say I want people to use all the pronouns.
Patrick, 18, My father and I had one talk about me being gay, when I was bringing the trash to a recycling place. He told me, “I used to think that way when I was your age until I met the right woman, and then I never looked back.” He thought he was gay and then one girl asked him out. He never had a boyfriend.
Maya, 18, New York, NY, I was just elected student council president. My platform is that the school is not as perfect as we think. Some people are racist. Some people are like, “She’s black and a lesbian and she’s our president.” Some people are really up in arms. There are a lot of people who have been against it. The kids who don’t really like me wrote “secession” on their Facebook status. If prep schools are like the houses in Harry Potter, I’m friends with Gryffindor and those kids are Slytherin.
We Are The Youth is a photo-documentary and essay project that compiles the stories of LGBTQ youth from around North America. It’s a simple project that packs an honest punch. Each story is personal and demonstrates the completely different experiences of the participants. They speak about the need for role models or their role in becoming one, about their own struggles with their identity, where they situate themselves on the gender/sexuality scale, and how that can change from day to day. The project is a collaborative effort between Laurel Golio who takes the photographs, Diana Scholl who writes the biographic essays, and of course, the LGBTQ youth. (Via Lenscratch)
Jazz, 12, “I share my story to help other people. I know people need someone to be a role model and help them along the way.”
Molly, 17, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, I had a fair amount of internalized homophobia toward myself. I knew I felt really uncomfortable with guys, but I wanted to be seen with them. I didn’t want the gay label put on me. Now I don’t really care. I identify as gay because it’s the easiest thing for me right now. I don’t identify as queer. I’m not sure I’d be able to date someone male-bodied. It’s really about the personality and physical attraction.
Jahmal, 20, Brooklyn, NY, As I started to get more work, I just decided to tell everyone at my high school I was gay. Once I did come out, a lot of people came out themselves. I was very popular at the high school with people thinking I was straight, and after I came out other people did too. They knew they could come to me if they had questions.
Trevor, 20, Montevallo, AL, I feel more comfortable when I’m in drag. I’ve always been more feminine than my male peers. It’s not that I’m transgender or anything, but in the society we live in, I feel more anxious holding hands with my boyfriend as another boy than I do when I’m in drag. When I’m out of drag I dress kind of androgynous, in tight pants and a v-neck t-shirt. When I went to Auburn I could tell people would look at me kind of funny, like, “There’s that gay guy.” But when I was dressed as a woman no one looked at me twice, unless I was getting catcalled. But now that I live in Montevallo, there are so many gay people here. So I’m leaving drag behind a little.