Diverse Humanity, the company I was working with, did an open-call on Instagram, and we reached out to the LGBTQ+ community in New York specifically. People heard about it and came to us, so it was very organic. I didn’t feel like it had to be people I knew personally. I was entering a zone that I wasn’t familiar with. I had a real issue with a friend of mine, who is a gay black photographer. I said to her, "Hey, I’m doing this project, I’d love to photograph you," – she’s fifty-something. And she said, "Hey, you know it’s not for you to do this project," and that made me reflect.
She wasn’t happy because she thought it should be an LGBTQ+ photographer doing the project. She didn’t realise she was talking to another Black female photographer who also struggles like her. I really was understanding of her issue, but it was up to me to say, "Okay, let’s get together and talk about this." I took the project because I’m a portraitist. That’s how I was found. She was taking portraits as well, but I didn’t feel like I was out of place, and I didn’t feel like I had to be LGBTQ+ to do it.
In New York, most of my friends are lesbian. So, for me, I could enter in as an outsider, and coming into a space where I have to give myself to these stories and struggles so I can understand them and reflect on them. This is what I do in my work. When I’m photographing human beings I can see their light. Society creates these boxes of race and gender, but we have to remind ourselves that this is a construction.