Photographer and author Maxwell Poth’s gallery exhibit, “Young Queer America,” now at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, serves as a companion to his book of the same name, which features a collection of portraits and essays from young people across the United States.
“I want every single queer person, especially every single queer kid to know this book exists,” the Los Angeles-based Poth said at the exhibit’s opening on July 29. “This is even for the parents of queer kids who are afraid to accept their trans kids at such a young age — who are unsure of what they’re trying to explain to them — to read this book and to grasp such truth in their stories… If you’re queer, you get the stories for that. If you’re not queer, it can open your eyes to what the queer world looks like.”
“With Love” star and trans actor Isis King wrote the book’s introduction. “The youth are our future,” she said during a panel discussion with Poth. “We want to amplify their voices.”
Poth’s youth advocacy began in his native Utah when he launched Project Contrast, a non-profit supporting queer young people. “I wanted to do something to make these kids feel like they had an environment, a community where they were, a religious community, a rural community, so I just started photographing kids six years ago and asking them to share their stories of what it’s like being who they are,” Poth said.
King recalled her start in Hollywood when she was a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.”
“I got discovered when I was a 21-year-old homeless young trans person so young trans people especially, but young queer people, have always been so important for me,” she shared. “Their voices are the future and it’s important for them to remember that they’re powerful and to surround themselves with and elevate themselves by seeing other people who are also bold and strong like them and living their lives openly and freely.”
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