|We Are the Youth Chronicles LGBT Youth|
We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and “as told to” interviews in the participants’ own voices, We Are the Youth captures the incredible diversity and uniqueness among the LGBT youth population. We Are the Youth addresses the lack of visibility of LGBT young people by providing a space to share stories in an honest and respectful way.
Created by Laurel Golio and Diana Scholl, childhood friends and Brooklyn-based artists, We Are the Youth has aspirations to become national with a campaign in progress for the Midwest.
Laurel’s work revolves around the examination of community and its various subcultures. She is especially interested in using portraiture to investigate issues of self-presentation and identity. Laurel graduated from Smith College with a degree in Visual Anthropology.
Diana Scholl is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in New York Magazine, City Limits, POZ, and Westchester Magazine. Her City Limits article, “For Transgender Homeless, Choice of Shelter Can Prevent Violence” was recognized for Excellence in News writing by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association. In addition to writing, she currently serves as Senior External Affairs Associate at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Journalism.
We Are the Youth profiles youth up to age 21 who are out or anonymously for those who are not. These profiles are published on WheAreTheYouth.org, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and in books, news articles, and public art exhibits.
How did We Are the Youth get started?
We Are the Youth got started in June 2012 at a gay prom in Westchester County, New York, where we both grew up. Laurel had the idea to photograph LGBT youth as more of a short-term project. When she told me this idea, since my background is as a reporter, I suggested I could interview the youth and get their back-stories behind the photos. Pretty quickly the project evolved into something bigger— sharing the stories of youth all over the country. We did our first Kickstarter campaign shortly after launching the project and we went to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Since then we've mostly been focused on the New York area, where we live. But we are currently fundraising to go to your part of the country!
How did the collaboration between you (Diana Scholl) and Laurel Golio come about?
We became friends as students at Ann M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining, New York in 8th grade. We actually recently realized that we became friends working on a volcano project for Earth Science class, so in a way our friendship started as a professional collaboration! We stayed friends through the years, and working on the project together was a natural evolution and has been a fantastic experience.
What is the goal of We Are the Youth?
The goal really is to share the stories of LGBT youth. We want to both help youth realize they're not alone and highlight the diversity of this population to the rest of the world. The project also serves as both a time capsule of a very unique time in the lives of people, since teenage-hood and early 20s is a very volatile time for most. As well as, a time capsule for society, since LGBT rights are changing so fast, I think people will look at this project in 20 years and be surprised by a lot of the struggles of many of the participants.
Talk about some profiles that affected you more strongly than others?
In a way, they're all my (and Laurel's children), each profile a special in its own way. But one that stands out in my mind is Audri, who was bullied as a student in Laurel, Mississippi, and then became an activist at a very young age. Also, Elliot, who was involved in the criminal justice system in Tampa, became HIV-positive, and really dealt with more in his 21 years than anyone should have to.