If I Knew Then...

…What I know now.

People in the LGBT Community wrestle with two common experiences: a before and after and the internal struggle associated with the transition between that before and after. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 40% of high school students who are considered sexual minorities have considered or attempted suicide. This is a staggering statistic and is often associated with shame or a lack of support. If you’re someone who identifies as part of the LGBT community, what would you tell your younger self to help provide that much needed support if you had the opportunity? How would that advice have helped you? How might that advice help others? This project tackles those questions and serves as a support network for those who so desperately need it.

Each portrait in this project is paired with a handwritten letter to the subject’s younger self allowing them to confront themselves openly and honestly by providing the advice they so desperately needed. In this project, the handwritten letter gives the audience the unique opportunity to experience this internal dialogue and to connect with the subject on a deeper, more intimate and emotional level.

The struggles that the LGBT community faces by accepting who they are and exposing that to the world helps develop a heightened sense of empathy and compassion. This is an exercise in mental health, not only to be cathartic for the subject in each piece, but to be a body of work to reference for those who are currently struggling with similar issues and/or may not have a support network. Each individual story is small part of the foundation in which we build our future together.

This work is about:

The survival skills LGBT people learn, often without the help of others, that helps define who we are as adults.

The missing advice we so desperately needed when we felt alone.

The parenting some of us deeply longed for.

The hug we needed when we wanted to jump off a cliff.

The phrase we all desperately wanted to hear: “Everything will be alright.”

A reminder that you’re not alone.

What we wish could have known to make an already challenging life a little less difficult.


If you identify as part of the LGBT community and would like to participate in this project please click below to reach out. The end goal is to publish this body of work into a book that will hopefully serve as a resource to those who don't have their own support network.

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