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San Diego Remembers photo project inspires participants to think beyond stereotypes

SAN DIEGO -- As part of the fifth annual San Diego Remembers Matthew Shepard vigil and celebration held last week, a photo project held during the event encouraged participants to think about the stereotypes that might hold them back in their daily lives.

SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego published a full page spread of some of the photos in its edition today, which were taken by local photographer and activist Cali Griebel.

Volunteers at the event canvassed the crowd asking them to participate by finishing a statement that was written on a small whiteboard, which read "I am not ...." followed by "I am ..." Participants would finish both statements by writing something that they are often perceived to be but are not, followed by an empowering statement about who they really are.

Statements ranged from humorous, to sad, to empowering, and over 100 photos were taken at the event.

People wrote things like:

I am not ... a faggot. I am ... a power gay!

I am not ... white-washed. I am ... awesome!

I am not ... a fag hag. I am ... an LGBT ally.

I am not ... second class. I am ... love.

I am not ... deaf. I am ... surprising.

I am not ... defeated. I am ... inspired!

Courtney Ware, a San Diego Remembers volunteer, said the purpose behind the photo project was to get people more involved with the event.

"We wanted people to see that although we all go through struggles fighting different stereotypes, we are all so much more than what some people might view us as," Ware said. "It was inspiring to see people stand up and say no, and realize that they are better than than the boxes people put them in."

Gay San Diego's photo spread is available on their Facebook page. SDPIX also has an album of photos from the event, including some of the "I am not ... I am" photos.

More information about San Diego Remembers is HERE.

Left image: Project organizer Courtney Ware. Credit: Cali Griebel, SDPIX.