The celebration of Pride Month and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is of personal significance to Los Angeles- based photographer Jan Dee Gordon who is gearing up for the festivities with the release of her brand new photography book, “LGBTQ of STEEL” – a compilation of striking portraits and personal profiles that captures the energy, optimism, and resiliency of fifty LGBTQ heroes.
In “LGBTQ of STEEL”, Jan Dee Gordon celebrates a group of LGBTQ individuals who bravely and without hesitation overcome unimaginable obstacles that threatened to hold them back, block their path, and completely destroy their lives. These powerful individuals have bared their souls, all of them formidable; bending and molding a seemingly unmovable ribbon of steel to exemplify their individual struggles and hardships and ultimate triumphs.
Their stories relate no easy struggle to live in accordance with their gender identity and sexual orientation—essential elements of personal liberty, dignity, and autonomy. In their own words, they describe transforming a seemingly unyielding reality (represented by the ribbons of steel in the photos) into lives of service, art, friendship, and humor.
Some of the celebrities featured include: Alec Mapa, Margaret Cho, John Duran, Frank DeCaro, Gloria Bigelow and 93 year-old Bob Clement who was at Stonewall- at the first Pride Parade, and who opened his church to all the LGBT people there…as a first.
Where there was hate and rejection, they chose love. Where there was fear, they chose courage. When they faced falsehoods, they chose truth. When threatened, they chose a quiet resistance. And when isolated, they built community.
LGBTQ of Steel is dedicated to Jan’s brother, Ben Lewis, who lived at a time when medicine wasn’t as advanced as it is today. At age 48 in 1994, he died of complications of Aids. As president of a bank and as a married man with a daughter, he led a double life until he became ill. He really did not have a chance to live a fully open life and to be authentically true to himself.
In his memory, Jan shares these inspirational stories of people in his community who were able to finally and joyfully live openly and as they wish – including his daughter, Soozin Lewis and her partner, Brigit Biagiotti (who are both in the book). Accordingly, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Aids research.
“Just as these courageous LGBTQ people bend and shape steel in these photos, they tell in their own words of bending the realities of their lives to become the individuals they were meant to be,” comments Jan.
“LGBTQ of STEEL” is the second book in the “Of STEEL” series Jan Dee Gordon has released. The recurring theme in both “Women of STEEL” and “LGBTQ of STEEL”, is how people use their inner strength to overcome life obstacles – analogized to the toughness of steel – and successfully bend the steel into their chosen paths. The subjects of the books are an inspiration of how to face issues and emerge the victor.
Jan Dee Gordon’s study of photography began in Paris in French, continued in New York at the International Center for Photography and then in Los Angeles at UCLA. Her distinctive pictures have appeared in magazines, such as Vogue and Bazaar, and in several museums and galleries, such as Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, LA Photo and Wall Street Gallery. They have been selected by designers to decorate buildings, lobbies, hallways, apartments, and have been sold in stores throughout the United States.
“LGBTQ of Steel” comes out on July 14, 2019 and will be available for purchase at: humanityofsteel.com