Sarah Reports on The Transatlantic Pride Art Exhibition!

The Annual Transatlantic Pride Art Exhibition, June 21st, 2012
Clifford Chance, New York, NY
by Sarah Nakano

Last Thursday night, Clifford Chance, a law firm in midtown, had an opening reception for their in-office exhibit “Annual Pride Art Exhibition-New York,” featuring 5 portraits of We are the Youth participants. This opening reception gave me the opportunity to see lots of cool art (Cass Bird, Peter Hujar, Elizabeth Bethea, Tee A. Corinne, etc), drink Coca Cola out of a fancy glass, and also witness the wisdom of Jonathan D. Katz.

Before the reception, Katz spoke about specific “queer artworks” and explored the context and details of each piece. Katz was the first tenured faculty in gay and lesbian studies in the U.S, founder of the Harvey Milk Institute, chair of the Department of Lesbian and Gay studies at the City College of San Francisco, co-founder of Queer Nation SF, and is the co-curator of the exhibit ‘HIDE / SEEK’. Basically he’s a certified genius and he’s the king of the middle of
the venn diagram: QUEER and ART.

In my opinion the most interesting idea he talked about was the future of “Queer Art.” What is contemporary queer art, where is it headed, what will it look like in the future? From what I understood, he thinks that as LGBTQ issues + people become more widely accepted, queer art will start to focus more on universal themes like love, loss, etc. I was incredibly impressed with Katz’s insights and how incredibly informed he was. What a badass. You can check out his essays, writings, and resume here.

Overall it was a rewarding experience and it was so cool to see Magda, Trevor, Braxton, Isaac, and Patrick chillin on the wall alongside other queer art.


Sarah, Age 19, Brooklyn, NY

In Japan if you have tattoos, you’re in the mafia. When I saw my grandmother in Japan I had to cover mine up because she’d reject me as part of the family. I also couldn’t tell my grandmother I was gay. Having tattoos and being gay and going to art school? She’d be like, “What are you doing with your life?”

I’m half-Japanese and half-white. When I’m in America I feel more Japanese, but when I go to Japan I feel really white. It’s strange because I don’t really have a home. My mom has lived in America for 30 years, but says she views her time here as an extended vacation. I asked her if she wants to move back to Japan, but she said she’s too old at this point. She’s basically cut off ties with my dad so I told her she should do what she wants.

I was born and raised in Minnesota, but I didn’t really speak English until I was five. Now English is my primary language. I think in English. I dream in English. My Japanese is slowly fading. (more…), June 2010

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Diana Scholl retains copyright to all text and interviews; Laurel Golio retains copyright to all photographs. This means that you cannot sell your portrait or interview to another party, or let someone use it for their own purposes without our permission.

A Look Back

In the spirit of nostalgia and our 1 year anniversary, here are some highlights of the past year. Thanks again for all the support and we hope the coming year is just as awesome as the last!

Where it all started! Gay Prom, Yonkers, New York
A Growth Grant from!
A successful Kickstarter campaign!
A trip to the South, met with Braxton in Auburn, Alabama
A weekend trip, met with Hot Sause in Stony Point, New York
A recent trip to Coney Island, New York, with Isaac!

Nel, 17, NJ

I feel like I’m really lucky to be where I am. My parents, my friends, my teachers — everyone’s accepting. I haven’t lost any friends; I’ve gained friends. All my teachers are cool with it. They mess up pronouns, obviously. My English teacher messed up once, then emailed me to apologize.

My guidance counselor is probably my best friend in the entire world. This year it’s uncomfortable for me to sit in classes where there’s a substitute who’ll call out my entire birth name. So if there’s a substitute teacher, I’ll just go to my guidance counselor’s office and sit there the entire period. We’ll talk about our weekends. I told her I was starting testosterone, and she was like, “Oh my God, I’m so excited for you!”

I’m three months on T. It’s going great. I just think my body’s reacting really well. The changes are awesome. Whenever I go to school, people will say, “Your voice is changing. Your face is changing.” It’s easier for me to talk to new people. Before, I was very self-conscious about not passing.

I just shaved my blonde creeper-stache. It was getting nasty. I’m not that into facial hair. When my trans guy friends would talk about wanting facial hair, it wasn’t something I wanted. I mostly just want to pass. It’s more my upper body that I’m concerned about.

Before, I used to just wear sweatpants every day. I didn’t want to have to get up and get dressed. I thought girls dressed like girls and guys dress as guys. I was never a lesbian. I didn’t want to walk down the street and have people see me as a girl with another girl. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not me.

I thought a lot about what other people thought of me. After freshman year, I’m like, “I don’t enjoy this anymore.” I didn’t want to have to get up and get dressed. Since learning what transgender was, everything changed.

I used to hate going shopping. Now I love it. I’m always begging my mom to order more clothes for me. I waste all my money on clothes and food. I really like PacSun. I like skinny jeans, but they tend to show off your curves. I like the PacSun jeans that are straight-legged, and they completely make your hips go away.

I don’t need bottom surgery. It’s at least 30 grand. I could spend that money on something completely different. If I had $30,000 to spend, I’d probably buy a car. My dream car is the Maserati GranTurismo, but that’s way, way above 30 grand.

I do want to make a lot of money someday so I’m financially stable. My parents moved here from Sweden, and they’ve done well. I don’t want to spoil my future kids completely, but I want to give them at least what I have now.

I have no idea what I want to do. My mom talks to me about it every day. I don’t think my mom’s gone a day without mentioning college. I’m like, “Uh huh.” I think she’s just worried that I’m gonna end up as a nobody. I think if she knows that I have a career in mind it will ease her worries. She says, “You’re going to end up working at Burger King or the laundromat.” It doesn’t stress me out that she keeps bugging me. It’s just annoying.

As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in NJ, 2011
To tell your story, email

Carter, 19, Oakland, CA

I don’t know what I could do to make me seem gayer. Even last night, I was talking to a girl I’ve known for a while. I said something about some girl, and she was like “Oh, are you bisexual?” She jumped to thinking I was straight to thinking I was bisexual. I’m like, “No, I’m pretty fucking gay.”

I could cut off my hair, but that wouldn’t be me. I’m not one of those people who can change my appearance at the drop of the hat. I don’t have piercings, I don’t have tattoos. I guess hair grows back, but I have weird things with my hair. It’s like a security blanket. To me, at least, cutting my hair so people know I’m queer would feel like putting on a costume.

I wrote a paper about hair. When I started writing it, the point was going to be that you can’t judge people’s sexuality based on their hair. But then all the research I found showed you can make assumptions on people based on their hair, and it’s been a really helpful way for members of the queer community to identify each other. My paper ended up with me realizing that I am the exception.

I feel like I always have to drop hints when there’s someone I’m into. It is kind of a bummer. But now is one of the first times I feel very comfortable with who I am and who I’ve grown into the past few years. I don’t want to alter that.

I think I first realized I was attracted to women when I was 16. It was interesting; my mom knew me so well that, when I told her, she said she wasn’t surprised because I’m very drawn to feminine things in my artwork. It’s not that my art is necessarily girly, but it’s very female and bold, and maybe delicate. A couple years ago I felt very fragile, and my art reflected that. Now it’s feminine in a more concrete, stronger way.

I identify as queer because I’m not comfortable 100-percent cutting out an entire gender. I didn’t really embrace the word queer before I knew about it at Mills College. I’m majoring in women, gender, and sexuality studies, and I learned a lot about what it means to be queer as not just a sexuality but as a political identity.

Honestly, I can’t imagine myself dating a guy. I’ve never felt an emotional connection to a guy before. Maybe, like once or twice, I felt a physical connection. But if I just want to hook up with someone and don’t like them as a person, it’s probably a bad idea.

As told to Diana Scholl.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in New York, NY, 2012
To tell your story, email

Heading South!

We Are the Youth is heading to the South! Starting in Atlanta, Diana and I will be driving all around Georgia, over to Alabama and across to Mississippi, all in 7 crazy days! We’ll be posting trip updates here and on Facebook and Twitter so stay tuned for sensational photographs of fried chicken, biscuits with honey, collard greens and, oh yeah, news on Southern queer youth.

Thanks again for all the support!