Photo-essay by Ocean Morisset
New York City PRIDE events are well documented affairs. The parade, costumes, the festival on Hudson street, the pier dance and everything in between are recorded by the million spectators in attendance.
In recent years I’ve focused my attention and lens on LGBT teens and adolescents of color who are out among thousands of celebrants displaying their pride. Since 2005, I’ve been documenting the many facets of the black LGBT community which touch on themes of protest, love, HIV/AIDS, aging , homophobia, hate crimes, outreach and community celebration to name a few.
New stories in the last decade have brought attention to the devastating effects anti-gay and lesbian bullying can have on teens and adolescents, who in many recent cases turn to suicide to escape the taunting, bullying and other abuse they faced because of their sexual orientation. In fact, preliminary results from a major 2012 survey of black gay youth, conducted by the National Strategy for Black Gay Youth in America, reveals that 43 percent of black gay youth have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of issues related to their sexual orientation. According to the results, over half of those surveyed fear or have experienced family disownment as a result of coming out of the closet.
My intention as a photographer documenting the LGBT community of color is to provide positive imagery and disseminate information of the issues affecting this marginalized group to filter into our collective consciousness, and realize that we are all ONE. "I AM, therefore WE ARE."
Want to see more of Ocean’s work, large and in-person? Ocean’s unique and Corona sensitive exhibit is currently on exhibit in the large windows of the former Worker’s Comp Building on Bank, Main and N. Division St., Peekskill, NY. Take your mask and see Peekskill Rises Up Against Racial Injustice. It is moment of light and humanity.