Pride is a time of reflection; a time to reflect on who we are and who we want to be. For many people, it is a time to carve out space to feel authentically true to yourself in your everyday life. Pride means unapologetically owning every part of your identity and embracing your queer energy. This project is a nod of gratitude to your queerness, whatever that means to you. Whether that means degendered fashion, euphoric makeup or an avant-garde look, this is your time to let your queer energy shine.
The purpose of this project is to highlight, celebrate and uplift LGBTQIA2S+ community members at Queen’s. This editorial focuses on centring LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in a beautiful, high fashion and elevated manner while shooting in everyday locations such as the kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. The contrast between the elevated looks and everyday locations signifies that we are all part of the same community and day-to-day life.
EMBRACING THE FEMME
Brendan Reid (he/him/his)
Growing up, I always stood out, I was known for having feminine attributes and always enjoying what girls also enjoyed. Many people were accepting; however, there was no disguising that I was different. Before I was able to discover my own identity and sexuality, labels were chosen for me and I was told who I was before finding it on my own. As I got older, the things that made me a unique, fun, and loving child, made me vulnerable to homophobia and bullying. Pride is a time to remind myself of how I have taken all those things that made me fear or want to hide and have used them to make my most authentic self. I have used this shoot to embrace the feminine side of myself and show I no longer fear others seeing me as less for the lack of masculine attributes I hold. Pride, to me, is a continued protest for LGBTQ2+ rights and the acceptance shown toward our community during this time should be demonstrated all year long.
Avery Simard (she/her)
This editorial shoot represents the personification of my queerness and an amalgamation of individuals and concepts that have been instrumental in the discovery and evolution of my queer identity–Marie Antoinette (a strange one, I know), the Elton John ballet I saw many times as a child, St. Vincent, and Dorian Electra. I haven’t always felt truly comfortable in my queer identity, often feeling that I was “faking it” or “making it up”, especially during phases when my sexual and romantic attraction was directed solely towards the opposite gender. What I’ve recently realized is that my queerness doesn’t have to be static, it is a nebulous thing. This doesn’t mean that it’s a phase or a trend but it affords me room to explore my queer identity without having to force my thoughts and feelings into a pre-defined set of rules. I am able to take this space to explore my identity because my specific queer expression in conjunction with my social, political, economic, and geographic position puts me at no significant risk of murder, homelessness, discrimination, hate, or exclusion unlike many other LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. Please consider donating to and supporting organizations such as For the Gworls, OutRight Action International, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund to support LGBTQIA2S+ individuals who don’t have the freedom to be themselves.
This type of look is not something I usually present to the world. It makes me feel vulnerable and a little afraid, but at the same time, I feel this new sense of power and self-confidence. This pandemic has offered some women a unique opportunity – that is to experience life apart from society, therefore apart from the male gaze. Over the past year, I have talked to a lot of women about how their style and self-expression have evolved and changed, as they began dressing for themselves instead of dressing for men. I hope these pictures offer a new mode of viewership that is women-centred, uprooting the dominance of the male gaze. Margret Atwood writes “you are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.” In the society we’ve been raised in, it seems that women will never catch a break from being constantly perceived by men. However, I hope these pictures help people question existing power structures as well as to try and challenge the internalized male gaze.
Alysha Mohamed (she/her)
Identity and queerness are deeply personal to me – like the intimate act of putting on makeup or looking in the mirror. There is beauty and necessity in performing, but there is also beauty in internal reflection. I am learning to let my sexuality BE, in its purest, most vulnerable state.
Martha Hillen (she/her/they)
Growing up and to this day, I’ve always known that my queerness meant I will never be a white picket fence housewife with a heteronormative family, no matter the gender of the person I choose to spend my life with. I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with that, partly because of being queer, but partly because I didn’t grow up with the perfect nuclear family that we are so indoctrinated into thinking we should have. this shoot pays homage to the woman I will never be, while also incorporating pieces of the ‘house-w*fe’ i could possibly be one day. being a wife and a mother is damn hard work, and I’ll be lucky if I become my own version of that person in the future. love you mom.