It’s Pride Month! What better way to kick it off than with a bunch of photos of a delightful queer Vancouver family. This couple met me at Trout Lake a few weeks ago with the spitfire of a three-year-old and a still-fresh babe, and I had a great time running around in the sand.
Queer Families on Film
Pride is also an excellent time to talk about how queer people, families and couples especially in my line of work, are portrayed and talked about. So much of what I see as far as queer representation in photography tends toward the white, cisgender and otherwise normative gays. I’m grateful for seeing these gays on social media in my fellow photographers’ feeds, and I know queer photographers have put a lot of time and energy and love creating space for themselves and for us, and creating that visibility.
It also can start to feel like the world only wants to see us if we look just like everyone else (queers can where white wedding dresses too! Have 2.5 kids! etc). Because of that, I think we have further to go than #LoveIsLove.
Love is love can sometimes flatten out the things that make queers and our families special. Difference is part of what makes our lives beautiful and unique, and I don’t think we have to get rid of difference to find acceptance.
Same-Same, but Different
There is a thing that happens sometimes where people look at my partner and me and decide they can fit us into the usual binary categories and then treat us according to the terms of those “usual” roles. Don’t get me wrong, this is vastly better than hatred or violence. It’s just that it’s hard to feel fully seen and appreciated for who you are when you know other people see you mostly as an approximation of themselves.
There are very practical differences for us. From interacting with our birth families to the myriad ways we build new families to learning to navigate fitting in and standing out and keeping ourselves and each other safe. It’s also so important to remember that just because white, middle-class queers (hello!) feel free, at least most of the time, we are not all free.
Black and Indigenous queer, trans and Two-Spirit people face hugely disproportionate amounts of violence and hatred. Trans people, particularly trans women, particularly trans women of colour, continue to be discriminated against in the workplace and in healthcare, and they continue to be murdered just for existing. We owe our siblings more than #LoveIsLove. We need nothing less than complete liberation.
And even putting aside material difference, queerness is expansive. It imagines new ways of being and of being together. To assume queer people just want access to the same old boxes is to miss the full potential of who we are and what we can create.
Being queer is a unique experience, and creating space for and celebrating that uniqueness is powerful. That’s why I love capturing queers and their families so much. Helping them to feel seen makes me feel seen.
Support Vancouver Queer Families
So let’s treat #LoveIsLove as one step on the way to fully embracing the multi-faceted glory of queerness. And let’s start showing it with more Vancouver queer families.
And here is the link to donate to Black Lives Matter – Vancouver. It’s largely run by Black femmes and trans folks who, after years of hard work, got the police out of the Pride Parade. WIN. <3 <3 <3