Photography, videography, text by B. Proud
Project has been supported by grants from
The B. W. Bastian Foundation
The University of the Arts
The Puffin Foundation
The Delaware Division of the Arts
And is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas
To support this project with a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contribution, please visit
Across the country, there are same-sex couples who are in dedicated relationships, many for 20, 30, 40 years or more, who are denied the same rights of other couples. Legally married couples are protected by 1,138 rights not afforded same-sex couples who are denied the right to be legally recognized. These rights cover inheritance benefits, access to health care, hospital visitation, tax benefits, immigration, adoption of children, property rights and many more.
Now in 2014, The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been declared unconstitutional and Proposition 8 has been defeated—for good. But the work is not done. There remain many states where same-sex marriages are illegal and those relationships are not recognized. While the tide is turning across the country to provide equal rights to all citizens, there remains a widespread misunderstanding of the relationships in the LGBTQ community. New laws do not always change minds. Understanding is the only weapon to combat hatred, bigotry, violence, and bullying, and only through acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and couples of all ages can we create a world full of hope for the future generations. By providing a new perspective on the issue and illuminating the real-life stories of the couples involved, this project aims to educate those outside the LGBTQ community through the celebration of the love shared by those within.
The “First Comes Love” Project explores relationships in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered (GLBTQ) communities across the nation, beginning in the local geographic region and then expanding across the country to show that allowing same-gender marriage will pose no threat to the “sanctity of the marriage”. In fact, GLBT couples often consider themselves “already married,” just without the same rights of heterosexual couples. Text, photograph and video bear witness that couples represented in this project have endured all of the highs and lows, challenges, victories and defeats, births and deaths, loves and losses that any couple faces over a period of many years together. Each has built a life together and forged the bonds of commitment that can only endure with pure love for and dedication to another person. These couples stand together “for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” and WITHstand the test of time and the discrimination allowed by the inequitable laws of this country.
The project’s goal is to photograph same-sex couples who have been in long-term relationships and to create an expressive portrait to represent, in each relationship, the depth, the seriousness, and the love between two people who have made a commitment to one another. Portraits will be presented in black and white to further break down the stereotypes in a society where homosexuality is often characterized by drag queens, gay pride parades, and rainbow flags. The people represented in this project live ordinary lives made extraordinary by their endurance of the attitudes and policies that society directs against them.
The video interviews from this project provide the text to accompany the photographs and will tell the story of the each couple in a multi-media approach, showing a broad spectrum of the GLBT community and presenting an intimate view of each couple in their separate interviews as they share the landmarks of their journeys. When the work shows a group of people as diverse as the human race itself yet who share the common bond of what it takes to commit to a lifetime of love.
This project focuses on the positive nature of same-sex relationships and highlightsπ the similarities-the equality, if you will, between heterosexual marriage and the GLBT experience. The project shows a side of the story of the GLBTQ experience that has not yet been told…the one that shows already existent long-term dedicated relationships, ones that are in no way a threat to families or traditional marriages.
The “First Comes Love” Project is a book, video and traveling exhibition. Please visit the website at www.firstcomeslove.org.
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