"I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the context of our history - to remember how discriminatory policies impact our community in acute and systemic ways, and how they can sever us even from ourselves."
When I first began working at Pride in 2011 we were not yet using photos to tell the story of our organization or community. While we enjoyed LGBTQ employment protections for some time in the state of California – San Diego has the highest concentration of LGBTQ military personnel in the world, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell had not yet taken effect.
The risk was too great for our service members, so photos were never used in social media or advertising.
When the repeal of DADT took effect later that year, Pride began the long process of uploading our photographic history to social media and something amazing happened. As folks started to look through each year of Pride they began to tag their friends, share memories, and even reconnect with loved ones who they thought they had lost during the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Our community knows all too well that visibility is key to impacting change, and photography can play a vital role in authentically showcasing the breadth and depth of our community.
It was at this same time that we began to use photography and video to showcase the true diversity in our community through social media.
Through the generosity of our all-volunteer photography and marketing team, we were able to quickly document our events and share back out to the world the people of all ages, body types, abilities, genders, professions, clothing styles, and family compositions who attended our events. As more people saw themselves reflected into images, attendance at our events grew and in turn, our philanthropy has grown.
I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the context of our history - to remember how discriminatory policies impact our community in acute and systemic ways, and how they can sever us even from ourselves.
Art and artists play a critical role in sharing our truth and healing those wounds. Here at the Pride office and annual Festival, we have Art of Pride which has produced some compelling exhibits over the years like Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold and our now annual Pride Youth Art Show.
We are currently inviting photographers to submit their photos for the Art of Pride: Images of Prideshow that is coming up in September, and the deadline is in two weeks.
I hope you can join us in then celebrating their talents and their role in building our community and movement. These talented community volunteers don’t just capture our precious moments, they are an active part of archiving and pushing forward our Legacy of Liberation.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride