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Identity

9 Photo Essays of Women and LGBTQ People's Lives Around the World

From the frontlines of Argentina's trans rights movement to the bathtubs and couches where women have given birth, these photos portray the multiplicity of women and LGBTQ people's lives.

by Broadly Staff
Mar 8 2019, 6:14pm

Behind the dozens of international social movements, celebrations, and tragedies about women and LGBTQ communities that make the news are the faces of the people caught up in the headlines. With Twitter feeds and news apps that never stop updating, these individuals can become faceless.

Photography, however, can be a saving grace in times like this, forcing us to pause, relate, and feel for the subjects in an image, whether those feelings are ecstatic joy, deep tragedy, or everything between and around. This International Women's Day, we've compiled Broadly photo essays from women and LGBTQ people around the world that portray this range of emotions to highlight the scope of our experiences.

Cinthia Arroyo, a central member of the city’s LGBTQ community and a librarian who raised three daughters on her own, allowed San Francisco-based Venezuelan photographer Kike Arnal into her home, her life with her children, and into her community of friends. Arnal spent years in her company, eventually creating the photo book Revealing Selves: Transgender Portraits from Argentina, published by The New Press.

Rahima Gambo wanted her photography to interrogate the idea of a school as not just “an innocent space, but one that is charged with meaning.” In particular, Gambo wanted to center the voices and experiences of the students within this context. Western media, she explains, tends to foreground coverage in the objectives of Boko Haram—not its victims. “There’s this story about Boko Haram and them attacking schools. But where’s the voice of the student in all of this?”

Photographer Sian Davey is joined by female photographers Dana Popa, Hanna Adcock, Carlota Guerrero, Bieke Depoorter, and Diàna Markosian to create a major new series exploring the experience of giving birth for women across the span of the world, from suburban London to the rural outposts in Nepal, Kenya, Romania, and Guatemala.

Through extensive interviews as well as still and video portraits, Yesterday Tomorrow Today explores the jarring effects created when social progress abruptly changes course, and addresses other frustrations, such as the limited narratives allowed for stories coming out of India, the way stories from the region are often taken away and never shared with the community that they come from, and the limited frameworks and media those stories are allowed to be told in.

Sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, fatphobia, and transphobia were all banned from Afropunk, as designated by large banners draped at each side of the stages. To many, the festival is more than just a social gathering that brings together thousands from around the world: It's a Black revival. Afropunk is considered by many to be a safe space where freedom of expression is truly unbound by socio-normative paradigms. Joy abounds—and it's contagious.

By weaponizing and politicizing a medium so typically associated with the ‘feminine,’ one that is in and of itself intricately linked to the storied Mexican textile tradition of elaborate embroidery and needlework, these collectives potently condemn Mexican impunity while lending a voice to the silenced.

For the first time in history, Mogi das Cruzes—a city on the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil—hosted an LGBTQ Pride parade. According to the organizers, about 10,000 people walked in the parade during the six hours that it lasted on April 29, 2018. For the Mogiano LGBTQ Forum, which organized the event, it was a historic moment. For years, they’d tried to create an LGBTQ Council within the local government, but city hall had consistently barred the project from happening. Mogi das Cruzes is home to 450,000 residents, is a largely impoverished area, and is far more conservative than other cities in the region, including São Paulo itself.

In recent years, it feels like the only Asian-American activism that makes headlines in major publications is from one end of the political spectrum—mostly East Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action, favor standardized testing, and support officer Peter Liang. But the people behind those movements aren’t nearly the only Asian Americans doing activist work in the US; there is a whole spectrum of people pushing back in ways that defy the “model minority” narrative. - Tiffany Diane Tso

For queer and gender non-conforming people, femme-ness can be a source of strength and affirmation—a reclaiming of the femininity that is so often used by the outside world against us. But femme-ness doesn't simply relate to dressing up in stereotypically feminine clothing—the sheer popularity of the Futch Scale points to the fact that ideas of femme-ness can vary from person to person. What is one person's high femme can be one person's futch ("femme butch"); it's more about a state of mind, expressed through a multitude of individual traits including but not solely limited to how you dress. As part of Women's History Month, Broadly asked queer, gender non-conforming, and femme-identified people to show us the first outfit that they felt expressed their inner femme.