VR: Therese & Peta: A Tale of Two-Spirits

The most famous photo of AIDS, seen by a billion people, hides a powerful story of love, friendship, family and the circle of care. Discover the untold story of the Native American framed out of the black and white photograph that was taken in 1990, and subsequently used by Benetton in an advertising campaign. This is a virtual reality experience created by Queer Media UK premiering in 2020, the 30th anniversary of the famous photo being taken. 

Journey through the AIDS hospice where the most famous photo ‘Face of AIDS’, which is one of TIME magazine’s top 100 images of the 20th Century, was taken and discover the FULL picture. Telling the story of those vital yet forgotten people, that gave care to those people facing their final moment in a story that has powerful themes of spiritual purpose, resilience and adventure. Therese & Peta: A Tale of Two-Spirits shines a light on the story of those who are framed out of the picture yet were instrumental in the famous photograph being taken.

Working with Therese Frare who took the famous image we aim to tell her story about her friendship with two-spirit transgender caregiver Peta, who is visible in the famous image only by his hands. They went shopping together, bought wigs and pink fluffy slippers, went clubbing, rode on his motorbike in the Mid-West to Pine Ridge Reservation, did the Native American pow wows, sundance and sweat lodge ceremony all moments together that defined their lives.

41894070_1568041506689334_r.jpegPhoto from left: Jamie Starboisky, Director/Producer/Co-writer, Therese Fare, photographer of the famous image, Shannon Yee, Co-writer.

Queer Media UK is a not-for-profit aiming to evolve queer stories in digital and magnify forgotten stories from marginalised communities. 

This is their first creative project using the immersive platform of virtual reality to create an imagined Pater Noster Hospice, in Columbus, Ohio using a hand drawn animated environment in Quill, that participants can walk through.

This is a virtual reality experience that eventually people could download and watch on their VR headsets at home. Or they could visit is as part of an installation in an art gallery where the VR environment will be mapped on to a physical set. Therese Frare was a photo journalism student so she has many photos of Pater Noster and of her road trip with Peta Church, that the public has never seen that are uniquely featured in our VR experience, showing a story within the AIDS crisis that people have never known.

With your awesome help we wish to use money donated to finish the VR experience, digitise her amazing photography work, make a short film about her friendship with Peta, and help towards the costs of exhibiting this American story in the US in 2020. 

This year this project luckily received Creative XR prototype funding from the Arts Council England distributed by Digital Catapult to create a proof of concept.

Now to apply for Round 2 of Creative XR funding and to get the chance of their £100,000 grant ($123,500 United States Dollar) to build the full experience, Queer Media UK need your help - through GoFundMe - to raise money to matchfund this grant for us to be successful in Round 2.

We would be so grateful if you could please contribute to us raising our 10% match funding so we can tell this untold story of love, compassion, resilience, family, dignity and adventure. 

It is a powerful story that offers healing and hope that needs to be heard in 2020, when it is the 30th anniversary of the famous photograph being taken. 

Big love and appreciation for your kindness!

Click here to watch the TIME magazine short film about the history of the famous photo. 

41894070_1568054022540954_r.jpegPeta featured on the far left hand side

41894070_1568054134786324_r.jpegPeta at Pine Ridge Reservation



No donations yet. Be the first to help.


Jamie Starboisky 
Shaw, North West England, United Kingdom
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more