Iris (left), Jeneé Coats, Precious Parker, and Cecily Gaston
A group of women are building bridges within the LGBTQ community in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. This group, called Humans Unrestricted, create merchandise and organize and execute photoshoots capturing key aspects of the community and challenges unique to queer identified women.
The group is made up of CEO and Founder Erica Jenkins, Executive Director Alexandra Ballard, Volunteer Coordinator Courtney Wright, and a team of other passionate women such as Amber Logan, Janee’ Coates, and Mara Lockard. They also have a team of photographers—Imani Scriber, Amber Logan, Kinia Johnson, Rayn, and Malcolm—who take the captivating images and videos during their shoots.
“Our mission is to unlabel society,” says Wright. “We plan on doing this in many measurable ways, one of which is creating new communities of understanding with educated and loving members who [abandon] harmful labels and highly value the bond of all humans.” Their message is one of unity and love among the people they serve.
In their first photoshoot, they focused on masculine of center women. Before the shoot, many of the models did not get along but through some intentional mediation and therapeutic conversation, by the end of the day the bad blood had been cleared.
“[We]…will continue to enhance the idea that all humans are equal, as well as challenging the idea of any roadblocks on the journey towards loving one another,” says Wright.
Their second piece of provocative artistry is called “My Name Izn’t.” “We chose this theme because it was an opportunity to give each participant [a chance] to be fully involved with how they wanted to be perceived,” Wright explains. The nine women posing in the studio represented various parts of the LGBTQ community and featured those who are both feminine identifying and androgynous.
According to the group, the goal of the shoot was to depict the essence of each individual. The group believes often times people are identified by labels placed on them by the outside world and as Humans Unrestricted the group strives to let people choose what they want to be identified as and associated with.
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Photo by SHVETS production
LGBTQ Refugees at Kakuma find support in one another. (Photo courtesy of K. McCord)