December 4, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: This is Queer Family

Queer representation is every-evolving, ever-progressing. Yet, it can still be frustrating trying to identify with mainstream media. We all want to belong, to find our tribe, to be a part of a Queer Family. What does that look like? Photographer Jordan Daniels attempts to tackle this unknown in his recent photography project, This is Queer Family. The Pride LA spoke with Jordan about the journey. Check it out: 

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Jordan Daniels, I am Queer and Black and Jewish and Fat. I say “And” because I want to hold space for all of my identities to exist on the same plane. I am a storyteller focusing on uplifting others to liberate themselves. 

In one sentence, what is the This is Queer Family project? 

It’s a project that explores what it means to Queer, how we create family, and what we think progress looks like in our community.

Where did the inspiration come from? 

I went to a conference a few months ago and john a. powell (stylized lower case) was speaking about creating “belonging” in his work and it really stuck with me. I’ve struggled a lot with experiencing belonging in my own communities; in the Black community, Jewish community, and Queer community. And I wanted to do a project that dissects the struggle a bit, and I wanted to do it in a visual way. Also, Pride Month had just started and it made me think a lot about the idea of belonging more in the Queer community, especially with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where so many people – particularly people of color and Trans women of color – fought for us to belong publicly in society. 

I also have to say that my friend Jordan Verdin, who is also credited as a co-photographer, inspired me to do this. I originally asked him to shoot it and he said that I needed to do it as a Queer person. He really demonstrated Allyship. 

Photo by Jordan Daniels

How long have you been working on it for? 

From theory to praxis, a month. I circulated the idea in my head for a couple weeks, reached out to people at the end of that second week, scheduled the studio that third week and shot it last week as in July 3rd. It was definitely impulsive haha. 

How did you find folks to participate? 

powell says that belonging needs to be co-created, so I set out to co-create this project with some incredible Queer people that I happened to know, and it kind of took off from there. I started with my own circle of friends in Oceanside. In our small group, we’re actually majority Queer so I knew I wanted them to be a part of it. From there, I thought of some really strong, vocal and vibrant Queer people that I’ve met throughout the years and reached out to them. Luckily, most of them were available! I knew I wanted to keep this sort of small so I didn’t think of more than 12 people. It would have been harder to execute if we had more. Though, I deeply wish I was able to work with some Trans folk. Two people that I thought of were out of town so it didn’t work out, but I definitely am conscious that we’re missing that physical representation. Though I’m really happy that several people in the project gave verbal representation for our Trans siblings.

Photo by Jordan Daniels

What kind of people were you hoping to reach with this project? 

Everybody really. This project is for the Queer community, by the Queer community. And I say “is” because I want this work to continue beyond me. I want people to liberate themselves and share their own images, videos, stories, etc. I want everybody to talk about what Queer family and belonging looks and feels like to them.

What do you hope/ to achieve/what are you achieving with this project? 

My initial goal was to just create something with people that gives us all the space to discuss these topics in a really beautiful, vulnerable and personal way. My fantasy is that this becomes a movement of its own. Like I said, I want people to add to it with their own thoughts and stories and continue the conversation. I want us to co-create this movement, where we make our own visibility by saying “This is Queer Family!”

Photo by Jordan Daniels

Can you talk a little bit on the re-appropriation of the word “Queer” 

Liberation is the act of freeing someone from oppression. This can also mean ourselves. Queer, by definition, just means strange or peculiar, and peculiar can mean special, so inherently this word isn’t a negative word. It’s been used pejoratively for centuries unfortunately, as have many words that become oppressive, but the word only oppresses us as much as we let it. Maya Angelou said “words are things,” so why can’t we make them beautiful things? The word “Queer” sounds special, and it makes me feel special. So I wield this “thing” with love. 

On a more personal note, I’ve always felt weird saying I identify with the “gay community,” because it feels exclusive of the entire gender and sexuality spectrum. For me, Queer encompasses all of us. It represents all of us. It makes me feel safe because we’re not alone when we’re all Queer. We all belong to Queer. 

Can you talk a bit about how this project reflects progress in the queer community to you? 

I think the fact that everyone in the project can find comfort in the word “Queer,” reflects a lot of progress. Many people I know use the word Queer, which means that we’re deconstructing sub-communities for the advancement of the Queer community. Additionally, I dare to say this series reflects an actual picture of Queer people in society. A lot of media gives us only one sub-community, or one ethnicity, gender, etc., at a time, but I argue that this series acutely encompasses the broadness of the Queer community, and this is only with 10 people.That’s progress in of itself.

Photo by Jordan Daniels

For more information on This is Queer Family, CLICK HERE.

Related Posts

Laverne Cox Gives Details On Transphobic Attack

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

Trans Actress Laverne Cox star of the Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black” took to social media to detail...

Restrictions In WeHo And LA County As COVID Cases Surge

November 29, 2020

November 29, 2020

The City of West Hollywood is getting the word out that Los Angeles County has announced it will be issuing...

WeHo Sounds Virtual Concert Series

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

The City of West Hollywood is launching its 2020-21 WeHo Sounds Free Virtual Concert Series, which will take place on...

First Out Gay Immigrant Running For California State Assembly

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

Godfrey Santos Plata is the first out gay immigrant ever to run for California State Assembly for Assembly District 53. ...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Veterans Day 2020

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will honor veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces during a virtual...

The Center Offers Post Election Counseling

November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

Amidst the stress on an election still yet to be called The LGBTQ Center Long Beach offered free post election...

Dolly Parton Launches Her Channel

November 1, 2020

November 1, 2020

Dolly Parton the sensational country singer with a boisterous personality has launched her talkshoplive® channel. On her first episode she...

Long Beach Resident Pays It Forward to LGBTQ Center Long Beach

November 1, 2020

November 1, 2020

Maximilian “Max” Lee, principal attorney for the Law Office of Maximilian Lee and a longtime volunteer for The LGBTQ Center...

WeHo Commemorates Transgender Awareness With Online Events

November 1, 2020

November 1, 2020

The City of West Hollywood and its Transgender Advisory Board recognize November as Transgender Awareness Month with a series of...

WeHo Carnaval 2020 Cancelled

October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

One of the year’s biggest events in West Hollywood, The Halloween Carnaval, has been cancelled.  The massive Halloween party has...

Undocumented LGBTQ Activist Puts An Emphasis On Voting

October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

Queer and undocumented filmmaker Armando Ibañez is releasing the videos of 9 undocumented LGTQ+ activists speaking on the importance of...

Family-Owned CBD Brand Remedio Wellness

October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020

Family-owned CBD brand Remedio Wellness launches carefully formulated products harnessing the power of nature and hemp.  Remedio Wellness was founded...

WeHo Launches “Masks Are…” PSA

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

The City of West Hollywood has had a mandatory face-covering requirement in effect since late May 2020 and has been...

Gays For Donald Trump March In WeHo

October 25, 2020

October 25, 2020

On Oct. 23 2020 a march, organized by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans, rallied to proclaim...

LGBTQ Foster Youth In L.A. Falling Through The Cracks

October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

A topic that has not garnered as much attention as it should is that of foster youth in Los Angeles...