[For some of those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or holding cultural connotations they feel do not apply to them. (glad.org)]
Yasmine Allen—creatively known as Yaz/ Y.A. Photos—found her love for photography after her childhood home tragically burned down. During this time, Yaz sought a way to create using an art medium that could not be so easily destroyed or lost. Photography was the key.
Yaz has been a photographer for over three years. Her works include commentary on social events and practices and an effort to insight positive progress in her communities. Most recently, Yaz began a photo-series depicting different queer identities. Entitled “Queerness Photoseries: Exploring Gender and Sexual Identities,” Yaz seeks to highlight gender and sexual identities to elicit more inclusivity about and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I wanted to have queer models in a nature background for the subliminal message that queerness is natural,” told Yaz.
Constantly, LGBTQ+ members have been “othered” by society. They are seen as a that cannot be accepted by mainstream society. Yet, Yaz believes that your sexual and gender identity should not overshadow your fundamental humanness. She developed this series to show that queer people should be able to exist as full human beings, not just as labels and categories for our comfort.
"I was going through different sexual identity changes. Coming out to my mom and my friends. But I really wanted to have this photo series on visibility, because, even when I was in the closet, I felt further excluded because even Howard doesn’t acknowledge queerness,” explained Yaz about her experience as a queer student at Howard University.
Her photo-series began a few months ago and is still ongoing. Yaz seeks unique models who express gender fluidity. Her goal for this photo-series is to learn to apply her creativity to her liberatory work, so that she can remain a strong activist for queer and other minority communities.
“Battling internal anti-queerness as a queer person is liberating, and I want to continue to share my self-liberation and have it translate into my liberatory work…It has been life saving,” she said.
View photos from the "Queerness Photoseries: Exploring Gender and Sexual Identities” below: