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Safe Spaces


This photo essay will step into the lives of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and explore where and with whom they find safety. It will explore the reasons this community still has the need to seek safe spaces, during a time of political unrest, and attacks from far-right wing political and religious groups. 

This collection of images and text presents commanding images from protests in the city of Calgary between Right-wing Christian Nationalists and 2SLGBTQIA+ activists, with a focus on drag defenders. This opening provides context and validity for the ongoing need for safe spaces within the queer community. From here, this collection transitions into the potent exploration of these specific safe spaces, with intimate shots following members of the trans, genderqueer, drag, and 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Each entry is supported by the subject’s direct words, describing how, where, and why they find their safe spaces in their own voices. The work is intimate, highlighting the subject’s homes, bedrooms, and private spaces, and also shows vibrant snapshots of where they engage with community, like drag clubs, backstage, and performances. Some of these are spaces are where they feel safe, and some are the moments in which queer activists put their lives on the line for the sake of visibility in the community. The work focuses on the subjects while they are vulnerable and open, drawing readers into their worlds to connect with their humanity. By inviting readers into a close and personal look inside the lives of queer people who are very active in their community, readers can explore relatable spaces, emotions, and life - building empathy by exposing either similarity or contrast to the reader’s own life. The work reflects on both public and private displays of queerness and finding the fragile balance between safety, duty, and fulfillment. The essay seeks to give space to each subject with both vulnerability and strength, and to create paths toward understanding for all readers who may not have such a close window into queer lives.

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