The Identity Project Story
In January 2014, Sarah Deragon posted a photo her wife had taken of her on Facebook with the words, "Queer Femme," and The Identity Project was born. This photography project was launched because as a photographer, Sarah wanted to explore the labels that we use when we define our sexuality and gender.
The concept of identity has always been interesting to Sarah. While getting her MA, she studied how identity politics can be used for good in terms of politically organizing a group of people and how they can be divisive and pull communities apart. She also spent several years working for Frameline, the International LGBT film festival, and saw how powerful it can be for communities to see images of themselves reflected in the world.
She started asking her Facebook community and close friends if they were interested in being photographed for the project and the response was overwhelming. She'd hoped to do 50 portraits by June and at the end of January, over 200 people had applied to be photographed. For three months, she photographed people in her studio and by the end of March, she'd photographed her 100th person.
Press coverage of the project was immediate and positive. Sarah believes that The Identity Project resonates with people because the photo project pushes up against the preconceived notions of what it is to be LGBTQ in today's society. Not only are the portraits striking, the participants in the project are playing with language, making up entirely new terms (transgenderqueer or inbetweener) and showing pride in their complex and ever changing identities.
Sarah put a post on The Identity Project's page asking folks if they would like to see the project hit the road and visit their cities and the response was overwhelming. She received emails from people in Atlanta, Columbus (OH), Chicago, Portland (OR), New York, New Orleans, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff, Baltimore, Boston, to name just a few and that's when she decided to pick five cities in the U.S. and travel to them in the later part of 2014. In May 2014, Sarah decided to launch a Indiegogo to raise 10K, so she can travel to and reach these other communities. Any money raised beyond the initial 10K will go directly to funding her travels to other U.S. cities. Sarah has traveled to Portland, New York & Chicago and will go to Austin in 2015.
Sarah is committed to reflecting the beautiful diversity of our LGBTQ communities and is actively seeking participants who are POC, trans*, bisexual, youth, elders, disabled, immigrant and otherwise identify as outside of the mainstream gay and lesbian culture.