Photography and the Gay Experience

Building your self confidence as a gay teen means that you need to think about anything and everything that’s going to keep you feeling happy, connected, and in love with everything around you. Sure, it’s never easy to hear that you have so much opposition to your lifestyle.

But here’s something that can really boost your life in a lot of ways — photography. Indeed, photography is something that is really core to the gay experience. We need more photos of what gay life really looks like.

I’m not talking about publicity photos from Ellen either. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ellen. I love what she does for the gay community. I love that she’s truly in love with Portia de Rossi, I love that she’s so committed to her lifestyle and making gay teens the subject of a lot of outreach. I love Dan Savage. I love George Takei. These are all incredible people. However, they can feel a little out of our reach as gay teens.

It can feel like we’re missing a big slice of gay life. Do normal people act like celebrities represent their real, everyday lives? Not really.

It’s time for us to take pictures of life as it unfolds. If you don’t have a camera right now, you should definitely get one. Your phone should also have a camera to capture those little moments while you are out and about. The more that you can plan these things out, the better off you will honestly be in the long run. It’s just time to really think about anything and everything that can really tie your experience together. The more that you plan; the better off you will truly prosper. But you have to keep your wits about you. You have to stay sharp. You have to stay focused. You have to think about anything and everything that could get in your way. You have to think about the people that make you unhappy — and then choose to be happy anyway.

Social networking can connect you to other gay youth. They will share their pictures of everyday life with you, and that’s what this is all about. We want to feel normal, because we are normal. If we continue to hide in the shadows and assume that what we’re doing is wrong, then we’re always going to be wrong. If we always look at the world of gay youth as something that’s wrong or separate, then we’re not going to go anywhere fast.

We deserve better, gay teens. In fact, you deserve better. You have to claim your good even when it hurts. Because without it, we just won’t go anywhere at all. That’s the whole point of all of the outreaches and the support groups.

If you’re feeling isolated and alone right now, you should know that it’s never too late to truly reach for something worthwhile. It’s never too late to feel loved and protected. Get help before things go out of hand. There are more people that love you than you can ever imagine!

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