Queer in Utrecht

What is the Queer in Utrecht project?

Recently I’ve started an exciting new project called Queer in Utrecht. Read all about it here!

What is the project?

Queer in Utrecht is a photography series in which I capture queer people in Utrecht – anyone who identifies as part of the LGBT+ and/or queer community. It is partly inspired by the Humans of New York project, which also has portraits as the leading material, and usually a short piece about someone’s life, vision, or experiences. In addition to the portrait, I do a brief interview with participants.

Where did the idea come from?

I think it came from a conversation with a friend about the queer community at first – something we both didn’t have a lot of experience with and wanted to learn more about. We wondered if there was such a thing as a queer community in Utrecht, and if so, where to find it.

Later as I was thinking about this more on a walk, I thought: someone should do a photography series about queer people in Utrecht, that way we could bring the community into view. I quickly realised that if I wanted this to become a thing, that someone would have to be me. Thus, the Queer in Utrecht project was born.

What are my goals?

To represent our community in full authenticity. I want to show that we are the people around you: your neighbour, friend, bookseller, teacher, etc. It’s not just about queer identity, because we are more than that – we are also citizens of a city. I wanted to draw a link to Utrecht to find out if there is a local queer community and how the city plays a role in that.

How did I find people for this project?

I started within my own circles and after that Instagram was a big help. That’s where Lesbischa Liga shared my request and I think the Polyam Podcast creators boosted the project as well. Eventually more than 80 people signed up, so I’ve definitely got a long-term project on my hands. I’m really looking forward to working with all these different people.

Who runs the project?

It’s just me! I do this completely voluntary. That means I’m having to work with quite a few constraints in terms of time, money and energy. As of yet there is no budget, so any costs are coming out of my own pocket.

I’ve practised photography and writing for many years, but I’m not a professional. That’s okay because I’d like to keep it informal. For inspiration, I look to the Humans of New York project and photography ideas on Pinterest.

Why the term queer?

This is a question I’ve gotten a couple of times. First of all, I just thought it sounded good and I like that it’s so straightforward. I also think it encapsulates many different people, especially those who haven’t got things figured out yet or aren’t interested in specific labels. For me personally, I like the term “queer” because it’s such a big umbrella. It works in so many ways, which is why I started using it myself early on. When I was still questioning my sexuality and I couldn’t give it a label yet, “queer” was a great stand-in.

Of course, it also used to be a slur, although here in the Netherlands maybe not so much. I can see that the community is reclaiming the term and wearing it with pride. I love that.

How do I get in touch?

Currently I’ve got enough participants to keep going for a while, but keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram for any further updates.

For other enquiries, you can get in touch via Instagram or email iamlaurawie@gmail.com.

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