PHOTO GALLERY: Queer at Work

Hannah / 19 / VT

“Last year I started working as a cabin counselor/art teacher/kid wrangler at a summer camp for young girls and non-binary folk up in the mountains of central Vermont; it was the hardest work I’ve ever done but also the job that felt the least like work. This photo was taken on the afternoon that we let a bunch of 9-14 year olds go wild with body paint on themselves, and also (as shown here) on their counselors. It was hectic and messy and incredibly fun.

This work is important to me because of everything that we teach the campers; everyone is asked what their pronouns are, there’s  a “no body talk” rule, and we run discussions on race/privilege/gender/etc. While working there I definitely learned and grew just as much as the campers did; middle schoolers have a lot to say about the world if you give them the chance.”

Amelia / 28 / Austin, TX

“My work is usually done behind closed doors in dimly-lit rooms, so my coworkers helped me fake this (poor quality) photo op. As a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist, fire cupping is almost certainly the most visually interesting part of my work (although pulling herbs from the hundreds of jars in the herbal pharmacy is a close second). I just finished my Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in December, and have been so grateful to be able to start to practice in the real world. So far, the red tape and start up effort has been as crappy as one might expect, but the seeing patients/helping people part has been even more wonderful than I had hoped.”

Emma / 25 / Ontario, Canada

“This is about as much of me as I could get in the photo as I often work alone. While waiting to finish up my Master’s degree, I’ve landed a pretty sweet job in a picture framing studio. After years of academia which, apart from the occasional foray into the field, has mostly involved sitting around reading and writing, it’s so refreshing and satisfying to be able to make something tangible with my hands. My job encompasses everything from helping people choose the best frame and mat for their art (and that’s from over 800 frame options!) to putting the artwork into the frames and making sure everything is both physically secured and aesthetically just so. I can’t exactly say it’s my calling, and I probably won’t do it forever, but it’s a pretty great combination of art and craft.”

Paige / 22 / American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY

“In this photo I’m holding the fossil eurypterid that I’m creating a 3D digital reconstruction of from CT scanned images of the fossil (pictured on the screen behind me). I work at the AMNH part time and a deli part time (not organized enough to also get a photo at the deli). Two very different but cool jobs!”

Quel / 29 / Lisbon, Portugal

“I work as a sculptor and I’m very lucky I get to do what I love. In this picture I was worried I wasn’t going to finish that piece in time and I didn’t… but all is good!”

Esmé / 23 / At my desk at home in Dublin, Ireland

“In my day job I’m a website administrator but I couldn’t get a photo in the office, so instead here I am at my desk at home.
I’m trying to write a personal essay about leaving my home as a teen and then returning as an adult, it’s part of a long attempt to fight off 2 years of severe writer’s block!”

Valerie Anne / 30 / Chelsea, Manhattan, NY

“I’m a copywriter during the day, and 90% of my work is digital, so if I only had work-related things on my desk, it would be the saddest desk of all time, therefore I have spent the past seven years collecting gadgets and gizmos aplenty. It’s very ME, if I do say so myself. (My computer background, displayed on the left, is a Business of Ferrets, and on the right I have open a folder of Supergirl screenshots because sometimes I finish up my recaps on my lunch break at my day job.)”

Rachel / 28 / Milwaukee WI

“I’m the Managing Editor of Autostraddle dot com. This is my home office, with its one tiny window looking directly into my neighbor’s kitchen, so I can watch their cat and houseplants all day.”

Julia / 22 / Geospatial Centroid, Fort Collins, CO

“I’m a GIS (Geographic Information Systems/Science) intern. Though I work in a windowless office and sit at a computer most of the day, my job is super great. My boss is kind and energetic. I’ve become spoiled by having two monitors, and there is no strict dress code to adhere to. As an intern, I analyze data and try to understand the world through maps. Here, I am making giant metadata (data about data!) spreadsheets. I hope to someday work at a humanitarian aid organization doing crisis mapping or something similar.”

Olivia (she·her) / 20 / Reno, NV

“I work as a sales associate at a pet store, this is me posing with a bird we had for sale. My job involves a lot of education on proper pet nutrition and care (your dogs need meat, people!). The unnecessary suffering caused by peoples’ lack of knowledge about animal care is staggering and I am passionate about minimizing it as much as I can. Also getting to play with ferrets and birds is a big plus.”

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  1. My heart squeezes every time I look through these galleries. So many beautiful queer people doing beautiful things. Sigh.

  2. look at all of you working hard! jealous of arielle’s homemade barbacoa and jay’s where the wild things are sweater, and kind of wishing i was surrounded by succulents rn.

  3. This is like meeting the Kara Danvers and Clark Kent selves of the Superheroes you hang out with on the regular at the gaylien bar, only to realize they’re even cooler in RL.

  4. Hi queer babes! I fell in love like, 20 times!

    Also hi Rachel from Chicago! I met you last August at the Autostraddle brunch meet up and you gave me your cognac ! Thank you that was so niiiice ❤️

    • Oh hai, Chloe! It was so lovely to meet you! That was the day of the Air and Water show wasn’t it? Super loud jet planes kept going by :)

  5. I love this series so much although I am too shy to submit one myself…this one is my favorite so far! I love seeing what cool jobs everyone has and what everyone likes and doesn’t like about their jobs. If I ever feel like I need a career change I’m totally gonna come back to this gallery for some inspiration!

  6. Soo many cool people and cool jobs here, this is amazing. Also, I noticed this round of images had more people in SoCal than the last two rounds, but I could be wrong?

  7. GAAAH!! I love ALL the photos!! *heart eyes emoji* You all have cool jobs! Special shout out to Hannah and Kim – reminds me of Grey’s Anatomy?? LOL And Priscilla’s window shot with the CN Tower – super awesome!! And Erin!! That Orphan Black – Cosima’s DNA laptop cover you made as screensaver??!!! Sestra!!! :) The final trip is in just less than 2 weeks!!

      • We’ve never gotten to deliver a lesbian couple together before! That’s my dream :) If you’re in indianapolis and need labor and delivery services, let me know!0

    • Hahaha it is a little like Grey’s! We met at work and tried to keep our falling in love a secret, especially since I wasn’t out yet. But we’ve come a long way! Everyone at work is super supportive, and the only thing we get harassed about it when we’ll have a baby.

  8. Damn, I knew I was forgetting to do something. Oh well.

    Very much appreciating the cluttered-desk representation here.

  9. Don’t mind me, just crying over every pic and description ???ya’ll are so sweet and wondrous and lovely.

  10. Everyone looks so beautiful and happy! Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your queer lives. Wish I submitted but alas, it was too late

  11. OH NO!!!!!!! I was so looking forward to this post and totally missed it! Ugh! Oh well, y’all will just have to imagine me lugging around heavy lumber and using power tools all day.

    But also, wow! y’all are so amazing and inspiring with your big beautiful brains and killer work ethic.

  12. Eva in Los Angeles, that “fingering chart” had me in stitches. Great photo prep!

    Y’all look so awesome and I’m jealous of all the amazing jobs you have! I hope if we do another version of this in a year’s time that I too will be able to post about a cool job, instead of cheating and showing some activist stuff!

  13. I can’t post photos of my workspace so I’m living vicariously through the rest of these beautiful humans!

    And Liz, I see you representing <3 #indystraddlers

  14. Wow!! Just Wow!!

    All you clever, talented, beautiful, thoughtful and brilliant people. The world’s definitely better for having you all in it.

  15. After looking at all the photos (and it’s so great to see so many people in their own world!) I wonder do Autostraddle readers tend not to have white collar jobs or do those of us with one feel embarrassed about taking part in this?

    • idk about embarrassed, but desk jobs make for less interesting photographs, and I don’t know how old you are, but my jobs got more office-y as I got older, and it was much more interesting to photograph me making waffle cones or wrangling dogs or making art projects with kiddos, and AS tends to skew definitely toward folks in their 20s, maybe that’s it? (I know there are others! I’m 33! but like, I’m not wrong that there’s a strong cohort of folks in their 20s)

      and I think some folks worry their white collar jobs are boring to talk about if you’re not in the field? and I know folks who are like “I have a fancy job and have a lot of money” are very sheepish about talking about it in public.

      in conclusion, idk.

      • You make very good points fellow 33 year old!

        “Here is me on draft 17 of the strategy” is probably not a good photo.


    Legit though yall are adorable and it’s nice to see all the kinds of jobs folks have.

  17. PRISCILA!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Y’all are rad AF. And Cute AF.
    Why is everyone so cute.

  18. I’m always in the worng part of the world… I work for a sand factory but it seems to me that I’ll have to change the mining type and get into coal. That way I’d get to go to Canada and meet fellow queers.

  19. I’m always in the wrong part of the world… I work for a sand factory but it seems to me that I’ll have to change the mining type and get into coal. That way I’d get to go to Canada and meet fellow queers.

  20. I can’t believe there is someone posting from South Los Angeles! I am an Americorp (volunteer) member at another school, but my program serves Normandie Ave. Elementary! Cool to know there are people everywhere in places that are familiar to me. Keep doing good work Eva!!!

  21. This actually made me cry. I’m so proud to belong to this beautiful queer community. <3

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