Gender Expression - Out Of The Box
My name is Pere DeRoy. I am from Guyana, where I have worked with a range of social movements for the last decade. Throughout this work I met many interesting people advocating for people's inclusion, human rights, freedom and development. One of these amazing people is Ulelli Verbeke.
Ulelli is an independent photographer who has worked for the Human Rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons over the past six (6) years in Guyana. She also has functioned as the co-chair for the board for the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), a local human rights organization located in Guyana.
This campaign - Gender Expression - Out of the Box- is to raise the funding needed for Ulelli to expand and develop a ground-breaking photo proect that she started over a year ago.
About the project: This project is a photographic chronicle of stories told by LGBT Caribbean people who have chosen to counter heteronormativity. This project aims to capture lived experiences of persons who identify and express themselves outside of the male-female norm in ways that break down barriers and expand boundaries in relation to sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
Types of stories this project wants to capture: Stories relating to what sort of persecutions they face(d), if any, if it’s assume dtheir sexual orientation or gender identity is not in any way fitting with their biological sex.
Stories relating to wellbeing, as in, access to self-advancement opportunities persons LGBT persons feel they may have gained or been cheated out of as a result of their gender identity and expression. For example, access to health care, educational opportunities, employment opportunities, etc.
Note: Images will be deliberately captured with the intention of not misrepresenting the subject matter or environment.
All monies raised through this campaign will be used to cover:
1. Transportation to, in and around at least six Caribbean countries;
2. Accommodation in these countries while mobilizing participants for the project;
3. Editing and printing photographs;
4. Hosting of two full-scale photographic exhibitions for LGBT advocacy in Guyana, Trinidad and possibly other Caribbean destinations
This project aims to expand knowledge and ideas around sexuality – relating to diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions in participating Caribbean countries.
The project was started June 2016.
Ulelli has been using her own funds to execute the project but is currently out of funds and the project has been paused.
Many countries in the Caribbean have laws that criminalize homosexuality. Many individuals like Ulelli, who are part of the LGBT community, live in constant fear of injustice because of their sexual identity and gender expression.
Ulelli's personal observations in Guyana have lead her to beliee that gender identity and gender expressions are misunderstood and as a result, people are oppressed. This project is a result of the desire to lift this misunderstanding, and create a more knowledgable and consequentally accepting society.
I hope that the discourse around sexuality, sexual identity and gender expression can be expanded, and that this expansion of discourse can help to bring more understanding to the issue, with an expectation of reducing structural and direct violence against people who identify as LGBT, and hopefully one day, influence change of homophobic and transphobic laws in the Caribbean.
Thank you: Any financial support to continue to make this project a reality will not only cover expenses but also open doors for Ulelli to contribute to positive depictions of LGBT identified people and their resistance.