PHOTO ESSAY: Permanent Reflections of Femme and Genderqueer People of Color

I’ve answered the question of
“what inspired you to start this series?”
to white people, to the amazing participants, to online followers.

So now instead I’ll insert some snapshots


the one of my mother, her facial features worrying her. Her eyes critical but still absorbed in magazines with pages and pages of homogenous paleness. The family trips to Ecuador where our relatives bake their skin in the sun. Except the darker skinned ones, the ones affectionately nicknamed “negrito” — they stay out of the brightness. Something they grew up with, they say they don’t want to look too dark.

I visit a queer bookstore, joyful, the first place I understood I wasn’t a man or a woman with the magazines they had. But I visit this time knowing more, expectations higher. I open one of the featured queer photography books and see what androgyny means to some people, what queerness can get twisted into. Thin, Masculine, White. Though I’m a thin white in-between person myself, this is a splinter in my skin. My niece shows me her Instagram feed and I see no one like her looking back at me. The people I love have fleeting reflections in the media. I started organizing a series on femmes and genderqueer folx of color in the city because I feel like diversity should be celebrated and documented so much more than it is now.

laura x moya, Immigrant Queer Latinx Filmmaker

Find laura’s work at omni the ant.

Leona Beretta, Brooklyn-Born Burlesque, Sideshow, Fetish, Belly Dance and Variety Show Performance Artist

Sweet Lorraine, Creator and Producer of Shades of Burlesque

Shades of Burlesque is New York City’s only all-Black burlesque revue. Find Sweet Lorraine’s work at Sweet Lorraine NY and on IG @SweetLorraineNY


Find Vveiss’s work on IG @vveiss66.

Ro Sam, Drummer/Musician

Find Ro Sam’s work on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Xoài Pham

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I’m a self taught film photographer and NYC native. Being genderqueer, Ecuadorian and someone with several mental illnesses contributes a lot to my artwork. I feel like photography helps me translate a lot of emotions into images. Capturing moods and having true feelings come through in images is really important to me. I'm still working on a website, but I post regularly on Facebook and IG: Eli Sleepless.

Eli has written 2 articles for us.


  1. Beautifully written, I can relate. Thank you. I’d love to see a longer list so I can make my IG feed a little less white

    • This is an ongoing series :) I shoot as much as my budget allows and have a lot of femme artists of color on my ig, but I just recently started focusing *specifically* on lgbt femmes

  2. I love this thank you! My other comment would be, it be nice to see what pronouns each person uses as not to misgender the person.

    • Def understand that. I included all th info each participant wanted but maybe it was tricky to include with each of their titles. Also not everyone felt like including their pronouns and I wanted to respect that.

  3. oh GOD, these are BEAUTIFUL. Saving them to my computer now so I can look at them whenever I need. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. Who will free our hearts but ourselves? Glad to see such a nice representation of freedom and individuality. We all are different, we all are valid.

    • “v. ystwyth- to make flexible, to bend, to flex, to soften” – your handle includes (on purpose? by coincidence?) a lovely Welsh verb.

      And Eli, your post and your work in general are so beautiful and so necessary!

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