Thankfully, widespread opinion (due to education and more open discourse) has advanced to the point that, in most circles, one stating that sexuality is a choice is met with looks suggesting that you may be — to put it kindly — old-fashioned. However, for all the holdouts that lament the decline in ‘straight camps,’ a photo/essay blog has been started to illuminate the fact that LGBTQ individuals are indeed ‘Born This Way’.
‘Born This Way‘ was started by writer and club/radio DJ Paul V. in January 2011. Paul, who describes himself as ‘one of millions of out, proud gay people who didn’t choose to be gay’ was inspired to start the blog by an old picture of a boy posing for a portrait (left). “Do you think his mom or dad prompted him to cock his heel and swivel his knee like that? Or prompted his in-command, arms akimbo stance?” V. challenges. “I bet not!”
Thus began a blog which has seen nearly 1.5 million visitors since its inception on January 9th, is now an about.com readers’ choice finalist and has established presences on Facebook and Twitter. Nearly 400 submission from both gay and lesbian individuals take the form of a short essay and accompanying photo and outline their progression from childhood to the present.
Far from every entry claiming “I always knew I was gay, but was forced to hide it,” many instead openly admit they were clueless as to why life was always a bit different for them; with more than one poster talking about (often unhappy) years spent living a heterosexual life, even married with children. Hearing these stories and then turning to the accompanying pictures is in some cases nothing short of fascinating.
Paul V. takes pains to note the blog is not about furthering stereotypes:
Some of the pix here feature gay boys with feminine traits, and some gay girls with masculine traits. And even more gay kids with NONE of those traits. Just like real life, these gay kids come in all shades and layers of masculine and feminine.
It should also be noted: Every pic submitted is chosen solely by that person, with no form of encouragement for any certain “type” of pic. Except, one that the SUBJECT thinks represents them the best.
Beyond being a captivating piece of compiled photo journalism, ‘Born This Way’ should also provide comfort to adolescents currently struggling with their sexuality. Fittingly, the blog embraces the popular ‘It gets better‘ campaign (and vice versa).