We Are Kind of More: Gen Z Reframes Gender and Sexuality

We Are Kind of More: Gen Z Reframes Gender and Sexuality was conceived as part of an initiative by the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives to center the voices of LGBTQ students at LaGuardia Community College, a CUNY school located in Long Island City, Queens. Through photographic portraiture and oral histories, these students share their intimate stories of religion, family, personal identities and communities they have found in this richly diverse part of NYC. Originally titled Shades of the Rainbow: Gen Z Reframes Gender and Sexuality, the exhibition opened at LaGuardia in June of 2019 during the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Inspired by the 2016 donation of the Papers of Daniel Dromm documenting the history of Queens Pride since the early 1990s, a conversation emerged at LaGuardia and Wagner Archives about the overlooked queer histories of the borough. Curators Stephen Petrus (Historian at the Archives) and Thierry Gourjon (Professor of Photography) began the initiative to archive these histories within the LaGuardia campus community. Students of LaGuardia’s Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) volunteered to share their stories through formal interviews, conducted by Petrus. Guided by Gourjon, student photographers captured the images of their peers.

With the support of the office of City Councilperson Danny Dromm, and in collaboration with the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, these photographs and narratives can now be experienced online. To add context to the original project, we have included snapshots of the work and practices of photographers Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Rondon, whose practices and methodologies are informed by their own experiences of queer community.

Read more about the original project here.

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Ambar Porter

“I didn’t want to accept the fact that I liked girls, so I came out as ‘bi’ at first, and then, as I started to get more comfortable, I finally came out to my mom as a lesbian.”

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Andres Hernandez

“I’m not particularly fond of seeing big businesses at Pride but at the same time I understand.”

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Angel Kinney

“I’m not just attracted to males. I’m not just attracted to females. I’m attracted to people who are beyond the binary.”

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Chaeri Ryu

“My parents once asked me if I liked girls. But that was only because at the time I was dressed up more as a guy, and I kept my hair short. I didn’t like the idea of being questioned because the way I was dressed, so I didn’t answer them.”

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Landon Ranchor

“To feel like you can’t ever be yourself around anyone, to feel like nobody understands you, to live a life as somebody other than who you are is nothing other than heartbreaking.”

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Daniel Cajas

“I don’t fear fear anymore.”

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Elizabeth Lopez

“Why is being gay or any other sexuality so different than being straight?”

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Hades Xavier Caceres

“I fell in love with the diversity of Jackson Heights.”

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Iliana Memmo

“The hardest person to come out to was myself.”

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Joshua Lobato

“Gender is a broad spectrum, and you could fluctuate between she, he, they, them, whatever you want to be. Why conform to just one?”

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Linlin Zhu

“You can find many girls in China who cut their hair and dress up like boys. This is a trend. I think it’s cool.”

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Marcello Riera

“I was born like this.”

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Maria Matute

“You’re never done exploring who you are.”

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Olive Casareno

“I understand the concepts of masculinity and femininity but I don’t know that I would ever want to pin myself down to one or the other. I think that everyone, no matter what you identify as, has those attributes in themselves somewhere.”

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Sebastian Blondet

“I’m still trying to figure out my gender identity.”

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Zayna Gamble

“I am just a person who doesn’t want to see less fortunate people be disrespected because of who they are or what they choose to be.”

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A Closer Look:

Two Portrait Photographers from the Leslie-Lohman Collection

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