Marc Bouwer talks about growing up during Apartheid, fearing the apocalypse every time it thundered, and waking up with stars in his eyes.
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 Marc Bouwer:
Marc Bouwer was always fascinated by the movies and the beautiful women of Hollywood as a child. Little did he know that, decades later, as a celebrated American couturier, his designs would set a thousand red carpet cameras flashing. Shortly after arriving in NYC, he met fashion legend Halston, who offered him a job and the young designer’s future began to unfold. Under Halston, Marc refined his skills, becoming a master draper. Draping soon became the hallmark of Bouwer’s career. Marc’s innate sensibility, keen eye, and undeniable talent have landed him on the pages of revered international fashion publications and into the hearts of the world’s most glamorous and watched women. In addition to a roster of celebrated runway reviews and feature articles, Marc Bouwer Couture has graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, Oprah, Cosmopolitan, Instyle, Vanity Fair, Glamour and more.
For more stories, visit the OUT website.