Diptych portrait of Elizabeth W.

Elizabeth W.


How would you identify your sexuality?

Queer gender-female with transgender history.

Why did you choose to be a part of this project?

Documenting the words, voices, and images of the LGBTQ+ community is very important. Too much of our history—visual, written, and verbal—has been lost over hundreds, and even thousands, of years. I’m glad to be a small part of documenting LGBTQ+ folks of this present era.

What do you think of your portrait?

I’m always terribly critical of images of myself. I don’t love the picture with my eyes closed because I think I look sad. I actually love the photo with my eyes open because it reminds me of Marlo Thomas from That Girl and I think that’s hysterical!

Describe your coming out. Are you coming out in some way by participating in this project?

I’ve been out for so long, I’m not sure if I was ever in. If there was any kind of coming out, it was so long ago that instead of coming out of a closet I probably came out of an armoire!

Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your gender or sexual orientation?

Of course I have, everyone has, but I never allowed it to affect the way I felt about myself. It’s the haters, bigots, and morons that have to change, not me. I’ve been standing up for too long to even consider sitting down now.

Be yourself and live authentically. Anything else is a sham, a tragic masquerade.

If you could change one thing about mainstream society to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people, what would it be?

If everyone would embrace a mindset of genuine inclusivity for all of our sisters, brothers, and others, that would be a dramatically positive shift in our society and the world.

Describe how this project has affected you, both personally and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

It has given me the opportunity to say, “I’m here, and I’m happy and proud of who I am.”

What advice have you been given by another LGBTQ+ person, or that you might offer someone?

I’d like to pass on the best advice that was given to me, which is to be yourself and live authentically. Anything else is a sham, a tragic masquerade.

Who are your LGBTQ+ role models?

The defiant ones, the activists—too many to mention—who have stood up in the face of adversity and said, “We’re queer, we’re here, and we’re not going away. Get over it.” The artists and dreamers who, because of their contributions throughout history, our world is an immeasurably more interesting and beautiful place.