Just an eclectic soul exploring different realms. You will find here bits of me.
The Pink Choice
Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.
Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.
The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.
Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.
The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.
Photographer: Maika Elan
Ok, having depression or any kind of mood disorder fucking sucks. It can make even the simplest tasks feel overwhelming and impossible. But if you’re feeling shitty and you wake up and are able to accomplish any of these things you deserve a fucking medal. I know shit is hard but you’re not alone. Take solace in the little things. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re not important. Little steps are never a bad place to start.
Flying Solo: This 92-Year-Old Transgender Widow Is Fighting To Be Treated Like Any Other Widow
After serving as a pilot during WWII, Robina Asti transitioned to living as a woman in the 1970s.
Now 92 years old, she fondly remembers spending time over the Pacific during World War II. She was only 21 at the time.
Getting her pilot’s license at just 18, Robina became a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
In 1976, she decided to begin living as a woman “in body, soul, and mind.” The prejudice against her at that time was extraordinary.
Working as a vice president of a mutual fund, she would go to work in men’s clothing and then change in the evenings.
“It was quite burdensome, and I knew it would never be accepted then. So I quit and decided I had to live and work as a woman.”
She legally changed the sex on her pilot’s license, her driver’s license, and obtained a U.S. passport as a woman. For Robina, it was a complete rebirth.
She soon met Norwood Patton, the man who would one day become her husband.
When things became serious, Robina knew she would have to tell Norwood about her transition.
Less than a week later, Norwood came back.
Every month, Norwood would ask for her hand in marriage. Every month, she would refuse.
Finally in 2004, Robina married her longtime sweetheart in a small ceremony in an airplane hangar in Orange County, N.Y.
“It was, without a doubt, the finest time in my life.”
Eight years later, Norwood passed away at the age of 97.
After his passing, Robina applied for survivor benefits with the SSA. She was denied after it was determined she was “legally male” at the time of their marriage — despite all the legal documents she had in her possession.
“I am so insulted that the Social Security Administration refused to recognize me as a woman and treated my marriage to Norwood in such a disrespectful way.”
In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina’s behalf. After more than six months, there is still no word from the Social Security Administration.
She hopes that her case is a success, not for the money, but for “the act of humanity which is necessary here.”
Lambda Legal created this video to share Robina’s story:
“Our hope lies in the human imagination. It was the human imagination that permitted African-Americans during slavery and the Jim Crow era to transcend their physical condition. It was the human imagination that sustained Sitting Bull and Black Elk as their land was seized and their cultures were broken. And it was the human imagination that allowed the survivors in the Nazi death camps to retain the power of the sacred. It is the imagination that makes possible transcendence. Chants, work songs, spirituals, the blues, poetry, dance and art converged under slavery to nourish and sustain this imagination. These were the forces that, as Ralph Ellison wrote, “we had in place of freedom.” The oppressed would be the first—for they know their fate—to admit that on a rational level such a notion is absurd, but they also know that it is only through the imagination that they survive. Jewish inmates in Auschwitz reportedly put God on trial for the Holocaust and then condemned God to death. A rabbi stood after the verdict to lead the evening prayers.”
This is a poster for a queer youth group in my town and I am just bursting with local pride.