Photo Exhibit Celebrates Black Women in the LGBT Community

By Paul DeBenedetto on April 3, 2014 10:17am 

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 A new photo exhibit in Bed-Stuy is celebrating black women in the LGBT community.
"You May Sit Beside Me: Visual Narratives of Black Women and Queer Identities"
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new photo exhibit in Bed-Stuy is celebrating black women in the LGBT community.

"You May Sit Beside Me: Visual Narratives of Black Women and Queer Identities" is an exhibition from photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayan as part of a series capturing black women of different backgrounds.

After her first exhibit in 2011 celebrating black women writers and journalists, Barrayan said she wanted to focus on the LGBT community, in part because it's a community that is often misunderstood.

"A lot of people make a lot of assumptions about women or men who are gay," Barrayan said.

"So I thought, maybe I should do this. Make it a collaboration between my subjects and myself and let them be in charge of presenting their own image."

Each of the photographs is accompanied by a short essay by the subject, telling their own story.

The exhibit is on display at the Skylight Gallery inside Restoration Plaza, at 1368 Fulton St., through May 22. The decision to showcase the images in Bed-Stuy was a conscious one, Barrayan said.

"There have been projects on LGBT communities, but I feel like it's been in their own spaces," Barrayan said.

"This is a public space, and everyone can interact with it. It gives people the opportunity to engage in something that, if they're not looking, they may not run into."

Barrayan said she hopes the exhibit can help inform people, build connections and help people see each other as equals.

"It's all about information," Barrayan said. "If I can eradicate one assumption, then that's great"

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