Amanda Lepore talks about her childhood as a boy who wanted to be a girl.
Vision statement, about OUT:
“OUT”, a gallery show put on by Carsten Fleck, consists of 18 photographic portraits (16 x 24″) and tape-recorded stories about how each individual first revealed his or her sexual preference. Visitors stand before each portrait, and hear, through their headphones, the heartfelt account of how the person in the photograph first admitted being gay to close friends and family-either last month or forty years ago.Homophobia, while on the decline, is still rampant today. In a Gallup Poll conducted in May, 2010, 43% of Americans called gay sex “morally wrong.” This social climate greatly increases the risk of suicide among young lesbian and gay teens. In 2010, at least six gay young people committed suicide because they were bullied by their classmates. The show “OUT” hopes to counter the suicide risk among gay young people by showing that coming out can lead to a more honest and satisfying life.Kelli Peterman, who manages the Trevor Project’s East Coast call center, says, “Especially for those who live in conservative communities, there’s the constant stress of, ‘Who can I come out to?’ Even before a teen gathers the courage to come out, he or she may often hear comments like, ‘If I had a gay friend, I wouldn’t hang out with him.’ When you’re 13 or 14 years old, that’s a tremendous amount of stress.” Initiatives such as OUT can offer comfort and hope to teens who have either suppressed their sexuality or been teased because of it. Young gay people and their parents-indeed all people-need to know that most scientists believe that sexual orientation is genetic: no more a matter of choice than a person’s height or skin color.All proceeds from the show will be donated to the Ali Forney Center in NYC, to support housing for LGBT homeless youth. When teenagers come out, they are sometimes banished from their homes and forced to live in the street. “I thought my show ‘OUT’ would be an ideal way of calling attention to their plight and raising money for their cause,” says photographer Carsten Fleck.In late 2010, Fleck mounted a critically acclaimed multimedia show in New York, The Shadow of War, with contemporary portraits of elderly Germans. Visitors listened to their stories on headphones and came away, often in tears, with a greater understanding of what it was like to live in Germany during World War II. Similarly, visitors to “OUT” will learn about the challenges and rewards of coming out and will be moved by the stories they hear.
About Amanda Lepore:
Amanda Lepore is an American model, nightlife hostess, fashion icon and performer. Born a male in New Jersey, Lepore professed a desire to have a sex change operation after seeing a TV show on the subject at the age of 11. She has been the advertising face for Heatherette, M.A.C. (cosmetics), Mego Jeans, Swatch, CAMP Cosmetics and more. Fashion design company Heatherette has used Lepore’s image on much of their clothing and has chosen her several times to model their brand during Fashion Week. Lepore is also noted as a regular subject in photographer David LaChapelle’s work. Lepore resides in New York City and works as a nightlife hostess at many of the city’s popular parties and clubs.
For more stories, visit the OUT website.