78 year-old, white gay man Gary ÒLeeÓ Lawson at home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lee is single, retired and a biker. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 29 March 2019

Gary “Lee” Lawson/


“Paul and I were friends and partners for about 7 years, we were both gay, motorcyclist and traveled around a lot. He traveled in his work & both of traveled together and separately. Chicago, Milwaukee, St Louis, Minneapolis , Indy, Nashville, KC, MO +++ In fall of 1983 he got pneumonia that turned out to … READ THE STORY

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24 year old pansexual African-American woman of trans-experience Sophia Lee in Queens, New York. Assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 06 February 2019

Sophia/


“Life is full of sacrifices and the unfortunate reality for many LGBT youth is that they have to sacrifice so many things just to live authentically. For me, I’ve had to sacrifice the love of my father.”

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20 year-old, black/hispanic, bisexual man Peanut in New York City. Peanut (not his legal name) was born in The Bronx. He has been homeless since he was 17. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 03 April 2019

Peanut/


“So many people hated, dislike, talked about and made fun of me, I just thought oh this is it, nothing else today I guess”

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63 year-old, Welsh-Jew gay/bisexual Rich Burton Jr expresses his gender identity as Òsexual.Ó He sits with his 72 year old live in domestic partner, white, gay man Pedro Barrios at home in Miami, Florida. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 30 March 2019

Rich & Pedro/


“We have shared and cared for one another ever since in my vigor muscles bulging I gave my heart and soul to him eternally.”

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73 year-old, transgender queer women, and veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, Victoria Cruz. She sits in the lounge area of Brooklyn based GRIOT Circle, (@GRIOTcircle on Instagram) a community-based, multigenerational organization serving LGBTQ elders of color. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 04 February 2019

Victoria Cruz/


“My name is Victoria Cruz. Born male, in Guánica, Puerto Rico. Known as Boriquén, before the Europeans came to the Caribbean. My real name was Victor Cruz, one of 11 children. I found out that I was really female at an early age. After the second World War, my father moved to Brooklyn, New York … READ THE STORY

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73 year-old, white, gay man John Swallow at home in Dade City, Florida. John is a drag queen. His stage name is Miss Jo Ann. He lives with his husband Russ. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Juan Pablo Ampudia, juanpablo@cuartocreativo.com. Phone +52 1 55 8676 5741. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 23 March 2019

John Swallow/


“I’ve been chased down street and mocked and beaten for who I am. It only made me stronger and made me fight for my rights and those of others to exist and live free.”

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21 year-old, homeless heterosexual trans man, Terry Ruggiero at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter that provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with a safe place to sleep, shower, eat and store belongings. Trinity Place Shelter provides a unique home and family-like environment where youth receive individualized care, respect, and the basic services so often denied them. Having such a space, staffed by professional social workers, supports our residents in gaining the skills and confidence needed to exit homelessness and begin to live into their dreams. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 31 January 2019

Terry/


“After all the excitement I then got my top surgery and It was a memorable moment for me because I wouldn’t have to layer up my clothing anymore and I was able to wear my shirt off and feel more comfortable in my skin.”

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40 year-old, black, female of trans experience, Malaysia at home in New Orleans. Malaysia is a Retention Specialist and Miss Black Trans International 2018-2019. (Pronouns: Use Malaysia, not she/her/they/them). Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Myles Golden, mylessgolden@gmail.com, Phone +1 757 751 3135. Photography by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 11 March 2019

Malaysia/


“One day, now as an adult, and in charge of my own life, I decided to put on girls clothes and makeup, and go out in the daytime. I had never been so comfortable in my life.”

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Landon Hudspeth/


“Growing up in that church I saw and experienced some of the worst homophobia and bigotry in my life.”

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Jethro/

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“I put on a mask (Jethro), I acted like I didn’t care for anyone or anything. The mask that allows me to hide my identity, the mask that makes my parents think that I’ve changed. The mask that got me my freedom”.

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Kilian Colin/

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“I was born a rainbow, in a color-blind society. I wasn’t just not allowed to express my gender identity and sexual orientation, but I was also banned from questioning them or even discuss it with my family.“

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Anthony G/

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“My name is anthony, im 24, maybe 25 by the time you read this. On the left photo i am 15, on the right i am 24, on my wedding day to the love of my life. I never thought id live to be this old, its pretty mind blowing to me.”

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kingston

Kingston/

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“If you want to open up to understanding my life as a black trans- man living in the USA, I ask that you first open up to your own truths. Ask yourself, where are my edges?”

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Jelanii

Jelanii/

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“My name is Jelani Kyrie Kabita. I wasn’t born with this name, I wasn’t born with this body, I wasn’t born with this state of mind. For 20 years I lived in denial but I was trapped personally internally with family morals and religion barriers.”

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LesleyAnn

Lesley Ann/

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“In 2015, while I was under general anesthesia, my doctor removed and destroyed a part of my body, without my consent. I have filed a lawsuit against this doctor. In several Facebook posts, she even threatened to stop treating transgender patients because of me (although she never named me). She openly exploited my fear that attempting to hold her accountable would restrict our community’s access to healthcare.”

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quincey

Quincy Kai/

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“I’m gay, I’m ethnic. I never understood hatred and I still don’t. Growing up my Fathers side was very traditional in African American roots. That side of my family valued gospel and christ, preaching that Gay people or anyone who was not living based off the bible was going to go to hell, I don’t understand why people show hatred towards one another.”

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rocco

Rocco/

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“As a gay male, being in Europe almost seemed more safe than walking the streets of Connecticut and everything surrounding. Little did I know, I was wrong.”

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E/

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“One of my closet friends At the time Basically told me that she hated gay people. In religion class, i was taught that LGBT people Had an unchangeable ‘condition’. As a 13 year old who had just started to become self-accepting, being told something like that severely set back me coming to terms with being gay.”

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eli

Eli/

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“i use two names: eli and yana
to the internet and close friends i’m eli, the nonbinary who’s attracted to all genders and is proud of their identity
to some friends i’m yana the cisfemale pan who’s okay with their sexuality
and to my family i’m yana: cisfemale and straight
ever since i was little i didn’t liked being called a girl. or a boy.”

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Rachel/

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“I’m a 15 year old girl in the usa. I’ve known i wasn’t like the other kids at my school every since i was 12. I Never knew about lgbt people until I Began to look on the internet. I had always assumed that i would Be like everyone Else when i was older.”

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Angela/

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“When I was growing up my parents fought a lot so I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house. Her family was very evangelical and I remember her dad coming into the room and telling us it was ‘not right and not normal’ for us to be sleeping so close together. When her mom told us we had to stop spending too much time together it broke my heart.”

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Chalese/

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“I was ashamed and buried in self-judgment, afraid of what my friends and family would think. Having been raised in the LDS community, a part of the Mormon religion, I denied my feelings for a woman and considered never coming out. But after two years of being in the closet, and endless arguments with the woman whose companionship I treasured, I decided to choose what made me happiest: love.”

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cameron

Cameron/

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If you asked 2013 me where I saw myself in the future, I would have told you dead. today is a different story. today I’m living.

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Emily/


“Growing up, my dad proudly told everyone he could, “If either of my sons comes home and tells me they’ve decided to be gay, I will laugh at them and kick them out of my house until they come home and tell me they’ve changed their minds and apologize.” He didn’t realize that he was actually talking about me, not my brothers. They had already disowned me for reporting my dad for molesting me as a child when I emailed them to come out, which I did to avoid having to hear their reactions, because I knew they would be vicious.”

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devon

Devon/

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“Ever since I was a young girl I knew I wasn’t like everyone else. I remember when my aunt would bring home her beautiful friends over and I couldn’t help but wish I was older so I could be with them. I never knew what bisexual meant until I was about 7 or 8.”

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jenn

Jenn/

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“My dad and i were truly best friends I felt like we were always laughing at our silly jokes…. these were the good old days until he began to get brain washed at his parish.”

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L

L/

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“One day, I walked into algebra class with my girlfriend, and I saw that my seat was taken by one of the popular jock boys. I asked him to get up, but he refused, then began hollering offensive slurs at me. Several more boys joined in, and they started screaming names, like “carpet muncher” and “faggot” and “queer degenerate” at me and my girlfriend; one even violently yelled “people like you should be shot”. The whole time, I sat holding back tears as my girlfriend defended me. Everyone else in the classroom was either sitting idly at his or her desk, ignoring us completely, or laughing along with the boys.”

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garrett

Garrett/

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“From being called ‘sister’ by my brother, ‘faggot’ by my uncle, being spit on, and being called ‘gay-rat’ by people in school, by the time I was in high school my self esteem was virtually non-existent. Flash forward to college and after the supreme court decision I came out to my friends and family.”

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parry

Parry/

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“The promise that they would make me straight offered me a life that I could only imagine…Could I fall asleep with out anxiety attacks? Would the loud condemning voices in my head stop? Maybe suicide would seise to be the best available option.”

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ben

Ben/

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“i grew up in a masculine household, and have memories of being called ‘fag’ and ‘queer’ because i chose dance and music over sports, and my ultraconservative mom saying gay sex was disgusting. It was only natural that i thought i could suppress the smaller, gay in me, replace it with fear and hate”

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vincenzo

Vincenzo/

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“I can’t describe the feelng of fear and violation when someone shows you torn pages of your most secret thoughts after you deny them.”

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michael

Michael/

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“I dated women for 7 years, even to the point of having a fiancée, just to make him happy. It’s taken all my being to keep trying to salvage whatever love might be harvested deep down inside him. I still hope one day he comes around, but for now, I am stuck with some more bills and memories of the man who drove me home the last day he thought I was worth loving.”

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Carson/

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“fear was a huge part of growing up in my small midwestern town where the word ‘gay’ was synonymous with: abnormal, disgusting, diseased, evil, & poisonous. when he found out, my step-father put me in therapy to fix my ‘faggot phase’ and refused to call me by anything other than ‘faggot’ or ‘little shit’.”

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C.C./

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“At the race briefing I pulled the race coordinator aside and asked her if there would be a problem with the club shirt I planned on wearing on race day. I told her I was representing a lesbian running club. The concerned look on her face said it all.”

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meg

Meg/

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“I grew up in a series of small military towns. I came out at 11 years old. By the time I turned 19 I lost three friends to LGBT related hate violence. My story is the unconventional casualty of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In the mid 90s the military was a culture of fear for LGBT service members, but many people don’t realize the DADT culture of fear was also handed down to the LGBT family members of service people. I was the oldest daughter of a teenage mother. My family had no idea what to do with a prepubescent queer kid.”

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Anonymous/

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“Word got around our community and soon I was being sexually harassed by the boys in my school and even grown men. I was no longer a human being to people, I was an object…I was raped later that year and everyone blamed me. In the eyes of my family and community I was a sexual deviant who had no voice. If I said no, it couldn’t be taken as a ‘real no’. At 18 years old I was kicked out because my mother didn’t want to risk me influencing my little sister any longer.”

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dinah-malila

Dinah & Malila/

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“I have been battling my father’s homophobia all my life. I would say it stemmed from his Christian (Catholic) values. Thus, he would tell me being gay is sinful and dirty. I thought I would allow him the chance to accept my life by attending our wedding – he declined, he chose not to be there or walk me down the aisle. To this day, I haven’t gotten a congratulations or acknowledgement that I am a happily married woman.”

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C.J./

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“At first, I thought that I was having a vivid nightmare. I remember one of the guys talking to me, while he was raping me. He was telling me that I would thank them for this, later. That this would ‘save me’ and prevent me from going to Hell.”

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Dagan/

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I grew up in the fundamental Christian household… From the time I was 8 to the time I came out I was labeled by my grandparents an abomination… I now know it’s okay for me to be with other guys. I feel freed.

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Alex/

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“After all the bullying I finally decided to turn to self harm because I hated that I was who I was, I thought the pain would make me feel better.”

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