This October, Prism United and Mobile-area trans videographer Max Kuzma will raise the visibility of Southwest Alabama’s LGBTQ youth through the Who We Are Campaign, a series of short documentaries featuring area LGBTQ youth sharing their lived experiences in their own words.
Corey Harvard (he/him), Executive Director of Prism United, released the statement:
“Prism United’s Who We Are Campaign aims to make Alabama a safer place. LGBTQ youth exist in all communities, but where their presence is not visible due to repression and victimization, they suffer, experiencing greater rates of anxiety, depression, disordered eating, substance abuse, and suicidality than their peers. When LGBTQ youth feel seen and heard in their community, these struggles decrease. This campaign is about lifting up the voices and stories of LGBTQ young people, centering their journeys, and calling for greater understanding and inclusivity across Southwest Alabama.”
Two of the first videos in the campaign feature Adrian (he/him) and Patrick (he/him), LGBTQ youth in Mobile. “I laugh at my younger self sometimes, because man, if only you could see your potential that you’re going to have pretty soon,” Patrick said in the video. “Opening up and being yourself, man – if only you’d see that, you’d be OK.” The campaign will release seven additional short documentaries throughout October.
The short films in the Who We Are Campaign were created by Max Kuzma (he/him), an award-winning trans cinematographer based in Mobile with over 9 years of experience in film production and a passion for cinematic storytelling. Max said:
“As a trans filmmaker living in Alabama, working on this docu-series has been a dream project for me: an opportunity to center the voices of LGBTQ youth in a uniquely local and cinematic way, giving these young people the opportunity to speak for themselves that is so often denied. The Who We Are campaign is about hearing from youth, understanding what motivates and energizes them, and celebrating their unique roles in our communities.”
The Who We Are campaign comes in the same year that legislation targeting LGBTQ youth – especially transgender and nonbinary youth – swept the country. Many states, including Alabama, debated the existence and equality of LGBTQ young people and even passed laws restricting trans youth from sectors of public life, from school sports to medical care. Alabama lawmakers passed a bill restricting transgender youth from participating in school sports, and one chamber of the legislature advanced a bill to ban and even imprison trans-affirming healthcare providers. We need to hear stories of LGBTQ young people in Alabama now more than ever.
The campaign will release seven additional short documentaries throughout the month. Who We Are videos can be viewed on social media or at https://prismunited.org/who-we-are/see-us/. For more information about the Who We Are Campaign, please contact Executive Director Corey Harvard at 251-599-6747 or [email protected].
About Prism United
Prism United responds to the comprehensive needs of area LGBTQ youth, by offering programming and services for LGBTQ youth and the people who care for them, including programs for teens and preteens, programs for family members, and training and resources for area organizations. www.prismunited.org