If I Knew Then...

…What I know now.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that 40% of high school students who identify as 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.

This is a project about self-reflection and the wisdom gained through life's journey. I photograph individuals of the LGBT community and ask them to write a letter to their younger self. Alongside the photograph, the letter is displayed to give insight into the personal journey and reflections of the individual. The photographs aim to give a visual representation of the beauty, complexity and vulnerability of the experiences and challenges of the LGBT community. Through this project, I hope to encourage viewers to question their own perceptions of the LGBT community and to consider the idea that everyone's experiences are unique and valuable. Furthermore, this project aims to raise mental health awareness and understanding of the difficulties that members of the LGBT community may face and the importance of support and acceptance. I hope that this project can serve as a support network for those that seek one.