OutSide

This ongoing portrait series is created to depict LGBTQ+ youth and young adults from rural communities, in this case the Bulkley Valley. As a high school art teacher and coordinator of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, I see many youth struggling with the process of coming out and deciding how truthful they can be to others about themselves. Many do not have the confidence, or the assured support, to speak up about their identity. Rural queer youth have an especially challenging time with this seeing as support can be extremely limited in these areas.

Old barn board, fencing, and other discarded wood is meant to represent the rural-queer experience and also allude to the tragic story of Matthew Shepard, a gay youth who was beaten in a homophobic hate crime and left for dead, tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming. Furthermore, the carved portraits are very subtle in order to convey the attempt of these youth to blend in with surrounding social circles and avoid bringing attention to their sexuality.