this is what queer looks like

Artist Statement

I grew up in a very small, conservative town in south-eastern Ontario. While my family was relatively left-leaning (and certainly would not have been angry if I came out as queer), I always considered myself just a really great ally to the LGBTQ+ community. It was not until I had the chance to meet one of my favourite bands, where I heard the singer say he is simply “not straight,” that a lightbulb went off in my head. I realized that, I too, am simply not straight. 


As many queer people do, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my childhood and teenage years since having that realization. It’s quite funny to think of the things that were clear indicators of my sexuality, but went completely over my head. I definitely think that one of the major reasons I didn’t know was due to the stereotype I had in my mind of what a queer person looks like. This stereotype was likely shaped by years of being immersed in a pretty homophobic small town with a lack of any queer role models in my life - and it didn’t look like me. It wasn’t until my final year of high school (when I met the aforementioned band) that this stereotype began to shift, and until I moved to Toronto for school that it was completely shattered.


This project is called this is what queer looks like, and it is a small exploration of how queer people present themselves to the world. I encourage viewers not to look for similarities among the portraits, but rather differences that make each one unique. While I hope that the viewer is challenged if they have their own stereotype, this project is also meant to serve as a reminder to myself: there is no particular way to look queer. 


this is what queer looks like was shot on a Polaroid One600 and using Colour 600 film. The project is ongoing, with the goal of reaching at least 30 participants. Each model is being asked to come styled in whatever felt “the most you”.  Nonetheless,  this is what queer looks like: