A Boys’ Camp to Redefine Gender
Over the past three years, photographer Lindsay Morris has been documenting a four-day camp for gender nonconforming boys and their parents.
The camp, “You Are You” (the name has been changed to protect the privacy of the children and is also the name of Morris’ series), is for “Parents who don’t have a gender-confirming 3-year-old who wants to wear high heels and prefers to go down the pink aisle in K-Mart and not that nasty dark boys’ aisle,” Morris said with a laugh.
It is also a place for both parents and children to feel protected in an environment that encourages free expression.
“[The kids] don’t have to look over their shoulders, and they can let down their guard. Those are four days when none of that matters, and they are surrounded by family members who support them,” Morris said.
Morris has stated that her photographic goal for the project is “to represent the spirit of these boys as they shine.” Some of the ways in which the kids shine is through the talent and fashion shows at camp that are popular and for which the campers come well-prepared.
“Some practice for the talent show all year, and others create their own gowns with their mothers or friends of the family,” Morris said. “The focus and enthusiasm is really pretty incredible. Also, it can be very emotional for the parents, especially the families who are new to camp and are experiencing this kind of group acceptance for the very first time.”
Although it is unknown if the kids at the camp will eventually identify as gay or transgender—or even if the way gender and sexuality are defined throughout society will evolve—the camp allows the kids to look at themselves in a completely different way.
“They get enough questioning in their daily lives, so it’s a great place for them to express themselves as they feel. … I feel we hear so many of the sad stories and how LGBT kids are disproportionately affected by bullying, depression, and suicide, and it hangs a heavy cloud over them and kind of dooms them from the beginning. I’m saying this is a new story. This is not a tragedy.” The children featured here and in Morris’ project are photographed with the permission of the their parents. Her ultimate goal is to start a foundation that raises money to help underwrite the cost of camp for kids unable to attend.
“I would really love to follow the kids into adulthood and see what kind of relationships they develop,” Morris said. “I want to witness the evolution, knowing from where they started and see how life is going to play out for them—hopefully happily—and I think they’re going to have a better transition into adulthood than the generation proceeding them.”
NATIVE YOUTH SEXUAL HEALTH NETWORK (www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com)
Campaign Titled: Healthy Sexuality and Fighting Homophobia and Transphobia: Native Youth Photography Project
About the Project:
This is the first national campaign for First Nations youth to fight homophobia and transphobia and normalize healthy sexuality!
First Nations youth came together in March 2010 to create a national campaign about sexuality and fighting homophobia and transphobia. These are the images created from the campaign which can be utilized as posters, postcards, as well as community newspaper inserts for articles and awareness.
About the Organization:
The Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) is an organization by and for Indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice throughout the United States and Canada.
Some of our key areas of work include:
- Culturally safe sex education
- Reclaiming rites of passage, coming of age ceremonies and traditional knowledge
- Healthy relationships and violence prevention
- Pregnancy options, youth parenting and families
- Environmental justice and environmental violence
- Harm reduction
- Two-Spirited and LGBTTIQQA advocacy and awareness
- Sexually Transmitted and Blood Borne Infections (STBBIs) and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention
- Youth in custody, jail, prison and the child welfare system
- Sex trade, sex industries and street economies
- Indigenous feminisms and masculinities
- Sexual self-esteem and empowerment
- Media literacy
- Youth activism and human rights
*Connect with more QUEER STORIES and ART from all over the world here!*
Lez Liberty Lit #26: Summertime, and The Reading is Easy
by carolyn & riese
Books! They are really great. You just won’t believe how great they are. You may…
When I started transition, almost 14 years ago, I imagined, I had this fantasy, that I would start taking hormones and in a few years, I was gonna blend in and no one would ever know that I was trans. I could just live my life undetected. And I knew a lot of trans folks like that, it was presented as the goal of transitioning.
When I realized that I wasn’t blending in effortlessly, I had to sort of to reevaluate things for myself. I had to begin to think about and I’ve begin to own this transgender thing. It became something that I had to say, "Well, this is who I am." (x)
LGBTQ* Naval History And People (You Might Want To Know About)
"Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong."
Stephen Decatur was one of the United States’ first naval heroes. During the War of 1812, Decatur commanded a battleship which was victorious over the British ship Macedonian and later assisted with the victory over the ship Endymion. Decatur was also one of the driving forces in obtaining a peace treaty with Algeria in 1815.
Decatur worked closely with Richard Somers. The friendship between the two men was often questioned and met some ridicule (Decatur was married and Somers was seeing someone). One story claims that five young officers questioned Somers behavior and challenged him to a duel. Somers wounded three of the men before receiving his first wound, to his arm. Legend claims following Somer’s wound, Decatur stepped in and the following men fled.
Like most stories of deep respect and affection, this one ends sadly. Somers was killed after volunteering to blow up a pirate stronghold after the plan went terribly wrong. Decatur watched from his own vessel as Somers life was lost and his body eventually washed ashore.
Before his death, Somers gave Decatur a gold ring. Decatur wore the token until his own death, in a duel with naval officer James Barron, at age forty-one.
Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning Comes Out, Deserves Respectful Treatment by Media and Officials
Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning announced today that she is female and wishes to begin hormone treatment…