We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and "as told to" interviews in the participants' own voices, We Are the Youth captures the incredible diversity and uniqueness among the LGBTQ youth population.
Below is the story of Starfire, which is featured in the upcoming book We Are the Youth.
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By Starfire, as told to Diana Scholl
I see love in so many different kinds of ways. I would date anyone who catches my interest, anyone who can keep up in a conversation. I've dated lots of people. You've got to go out and experience the world. I don't see a reason not to if it's not going to interfere with my actual life, like getting schoolwork done and getting my future together.
My partner and I have been together a year and three months. He identifies as straight, and it doesn't bother him that I identify as queer, genderqueer, and polyamorous.
My preferred pronouns are "ze," "zem," and "zer." It's not so much that I'm gender-neutral. I mix up how I dress all the time. I just put together clothes. I don't want to put myself in a box, like I have to wear boys' clothes or I have to wear girls' clothes. I'm also super-fabulous.
My family knows I like a lot of different people. I live with them, but they're not in that part of my life. It makes it easier. I'd have to explain it to them, then I'd have to explain it and explain it and explain it again.
I have two older brothers, three stepsisters, and a stepbrother. I had a younger brother who passed away. That happened in 2008. He was 12, and I was 13. It came out of nowhere and hit a lot of people really hard. It was one of those things that made me who I am. I used to be really antisocial. That's when I started going out and making friends and raving and wanting to be away from my family.
I was raving for two or three years. It was something to do in Vegas. It's a 24-hour town, and there's not a lot to do if you're under 21. Raving was something to do, and people to be around. I stopped mostly because it got filled with little kids and so many drugs, so I didn't want to be there.
Now I mostly read and hang out with my friends. Sometimes I walk down the Strip or hang out at the LGBT Center. I actually started going there my freshman year of high school. You meet so many different kinds of people that are all together. I've made some really great friends there. It's cool to have people you can talk to. A lot of my friends are in the LGBTQ community. It's nice to know other people around you know what it's like to be outside the social binary.
I'm only here a few more months before I go off to college. I'm going to Dixie State College in Utah and will major in psychology. School's one of those things I've always been good at. It's other things in my life that have led to problems.
Photo by Laurel Golio, taken in Las Vegas, Nevada, 2013.