While looking for photos to send as a headshot for a panel I tripped across this one. I think this is from my first photoshoot with Ryan Donahoo. It was the first time that I felt so effortlessly glamorous, interesting and unique.

I’ve had great photoshoots before but I have always been aware of the camera and no matter how confident I appeared on the finished product I was waging a silent war in my head.

One part of me replaying all the childhood tapes, the vicious words of ex lovers, every person who didn’t want to sit next to me on the bus and the other part screaming for a self sustained defiant loving embodiment. I didn’t feel that way under Ryan’s lens.

I’m forever grateful for his queer and loving eyes.

I’m forever grateful to my queer and loving peers who create art, collect stories, fight for our right to be here

I’m forever grateful to the queer and loving elders who did a lot of delicious dirty deeds in the back of windowless bars, who lost jobs and families then as we still do now, who threw bricks and shoes at uniformed zealots who called themselves enforcing a law we know to be unjust

I am forever grateful to the queer and loving healers. Those here, those yet to come and those who will come again. Those whose gender is sacred. Those who moves moves the medicine though their queer ineffable sex and fluid roots that were not bound by man or woman

I am forever grateful to the queer and loving teachers whose wisdom was handed to me in lines I had to learn to read between
I am forever grateful to his mother who wore caftan’s in the late evening New Orleans heat, who burned incense and made chamomile tea while the four of us, him and his girlfriend me and mine explored our naked bodies. She gave me a space to learn how to touch her

I am forever grateful to her.

the girl who turned me out on a sweltering Mardi Gras night, the scent of roses coming in through my window mixing with Tommy Girl and Bath and Bodywork’s Warm Vanilla… my nose was wide open.

I am forever grateful
and proud that we continue to be in this world… may it be forever so.

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