Sam, He/Him. . “I’d like to talk a little bit about the dissonance in the Trans community right now. I see a lot of people saying, ‘You have to have dysphoria to be Trans. You have to have gone through suffering to be apart of this community,’ and I entirely disagree. Why are we gate keeping within our own group? Don’t we get enough of that from cis people? I’d like to invite everyone to think more about euphoria, and how their gender is aligning in a positive light. Let’s stop tearing each other down and instead lift each other up. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you’re enough just the way you are. Happy Pride month everyone.” @samspads
Melissa, She/Her. A good friend and an educator with a collection of patterned clothing I’m deeply jealous of. @mweglein.art
Beth (She/Her) and Tania Sturtevant (She/Her) with their daughter Sophia (She/They). . “We have been together for 31 years now! It hardly seems possible, time passes so quickly. We became parents more than 20 years ago to our daughter Sophia; best decision ever.” . Be sure to see Sophia’s photography @bysophiasturt and Tania’s art @threeheartstudio.
Daniel/Danny, He/Him. One of the kindest people I know. Check out his fashion blog @dapperlookbook & his personal @deaton_227 !
Joan, She/They. . “Radically love yourself. Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. - Audre Lorde. . “Also, vote please.”
Lucy, She/Her. . Lucy is an artist based in Portland. Check out more of her work @littleshovel !
Nathan, Any Pronoun. . “I’m frustrated and tired very often. I’m also very lucky and so, so grateful. I try to keep gratitude and acceptance at the forefront of everything I do. The systems we have in place clearly benefit a small percentage of people while a majority of others are constantly suffering. These systems are not broken - they’re working exactly as they were intended to work. They need to change. It feels wrong not to advocate for change so that everyone has a fair chance to live a peaceful, beautiful life. I want to make sure I’m consistently showing up for myself, so I can show up for others, especially those I hold close to me in my life, and keep fighting. It all starts with you.” . @therealnategabel
Abe, She/Her. . “I’ve been coping with the pandemic by leaning into creative play in my work and life - I survived the first month of lockdown by drawing 400+ possums. I’m surviving the sixth month by teaching myself how to longboard and rewatching Avatar: The Last Airbender. Basically I’m gifting myself the childhood I always wanted, but in my adult years.” . @abetensiaillustration
Julien, They/She. . “During quarantine, my creative focus has been all over the place. I’m always a bit of a dabbler, but this time has turned me into an absolute mega dabbler. From week to week and month to month I’ve become obsessed with rug-making, painting, starting a newsletter, Polaroid photography, portrait photography, figure drawing from photos, ceramics... sometimes I wish I would just buckle down and focus on something to become really good at it, but that just doesn’t feel possible right now. The time to myself has also given me space to get back in touch with my queer identity, which has felt dormant and hidden for a while. I would love to meet more of the amazing people on this page and get to know the queer community around Portland better! If anyone reading this wants to collaborate on a creative project or photoshoot, I would love to work together!” . @ejuliencoyne for art/@ejulienphotography for photos
Brooke, She/Her. . “Hi! I’m Brooke, a bisexual, black local artist and the creator of BuffCat. I make paintings, digital art and comics here in Portland. I teamed up with my friend Melanie to make BuffCat my official brand in January of this year. Inspired by my cat, the mission of BuffCat is to portray bodies, people and queer identities that aren’t commonly seen in art. BuffCat represents soft masculinity, embracing who you are and being unapologetically yourself. I hope that everyone who views my art feels seen. Queer, black voices deserve to be heard and I hope I convey that through my work. You can find my art on Instagram and Facebook: Instagram: Artbybuffcat BuffCatforever Facebook: Art By BuffCat I can be found on Blackownedmaine as Art By Buff Cat. For commissions/and project requests please email me at: Artbybuffcat@gmail.com.” . @artbybuffcat
James, They/Them . “When Kyle Warnock agreed to be involved in my upcoming photo series and asked me to be involved with his in return, I was thrilled. As two very different photographers both primarily photographing queer subjects in very different ways, our meeting in real life had been quite overdue. However, I was NOT prepared for this photoshoot. I had misunderstood the plans we made and thought that ~I~ would be shooting ~him~ on this day. Not the other way around. I'm happy that's what happened though, because I think not having put myself in the headspace of "I'm being photographed today" until moments beforehand added an extra layer of vulnerability to shoot that might not have been there otherwise. For me, so much of the portraiture I do is about finding beauty, power, and authenticity in those moments of vulnerability. I'm delighted with the sides of me Kyle witnessed: someone who is often a little bit flustered, typically a little bit self conscious, and usually a lot bit goofy.” . @the_third_and_only
Ollie, He/Him . “Loves to take any opportunity he can to adventure! Ollie is always searching for new places to explore and to enjoy others company. Creating is a very spiritual passion for him, whether it is photography, design, painting or fabric dying. He is always looking for ways to incorporate a message into his work. Activism and Social Justice are very important to him! Ollie is always ready to rally and have conversations about the ways we can all pitch in and be better allies to our communities. #BLM #TransLivesMatter #housingisahumanright #NarcanSavesLives Currently Ollie has a Pride Pop-up of Pride Tye-Dye T-Shirts and Lighters featured on his art Instagram @ollie_mcgowan_art Please check it out!!!” . @ollie_mcgowan
Liam, He/They . "Liam, you can put on literally any outfit and be confident. you're a queer icon." --recent five-star yelp review -- “Liam (he/they) is a 35-year-old poet, musician, and visual artist. he is queer, trans/genderqueer, and demisexual. he is polyamorous and has two lovely longterm partners. he will always be one of the best listeners you know. liam's art, and his gentle boldness, challenges the status quo. liam's work explores gender and queerness, classism, mental health, the sacred and the profane, the painful sweetness of love, the dimensions of desire, and the tempting shadow sides of religion and human nature. liam has a tendency to be mischievous; his loved ones have a term, "Liam'ing," for when he is trying to convince them that there are 15 types of metal that legally must be used in building treeforts. liam's debut poetry chapbook, EVERY DAY A DIFFERENT DAREDEVIL, is available through @LUPERCALIApress (2021).” . @broverwhelming
Mel, They/Them & Pete, He/They . Mel: “Hello, I’m new here. During the pandemic, a lot of priorities shifted for me. I left my toxic, full time job. I prioritized my health. I left NYC and moved here. And, of course, pursued making art & freelancing full time. Portland, Maine is the first place that has ever felt like home for me. I’m looking forward to planting my roots here & making new friends!” . Pete: “I feel truly blessed to live in such a welcoming community, surrounded by beautiful nature. I’m gonna be friends with everyone here.” . @mel.andrel @peat.earth
Tadin, He/Him . “It took me a long time to understand and feel confident expressing my queer identify. As a cis man who presents fairly masc, I often felt uncomfortable with what being a man was supposed to look like a according to society. Eventually I realized I could express my feminine side and could wear clothing that reflected that, and that wouldn't make me less of a man. I feel very grateful for the community around me that's supported me throughout my life. I still have a long way to go but getting better every day." . @bigbrowngoat
Rylan Hynes (they/them/their) is a writer, visual artist, and communications manager living in central Maine. . “My writing often explores identity, isolation, queerness, and is always inspired and informed by living in Maine. Right now I am working on revising a work of fiction that delves into queer inheritance and what we pass on to the next generation of our community. I think for many LGBTQ folks, one’s family tree isn’t necessarily a linear concept. We cultivate our own circles of support and the heirs to what we leave behind could be anyone we share an identity with — and I think that’s pretty magical. Part of what I love about my job at The Telling Room in Portland is that I have the opportunity to support and celebrate queer youth who are writing in our state. I’m inspired by their work every day, and I hope that by amplifying and lifting up their voices we can create a richer literary landscape that’s inclusive of LGBTQ experiences in every genre. It’s never too early to take someone’s writing seriously and to support them as they grow as an author.” . @rylanhynes
Nicole, She/Her . "It's taken me a long time to learn how to be comfortable in both my own skin and with my sexuality. Not every day is easy, but I'm figuring out how to celebrate the person that I am and who I've yet to become. When I moved back home to Maine pre-pandemic, everything was different. It solidified just how constant change can be, and that it's okay. This year I picked up a camera and took my love of photography as something worth sharing with people. I'm enjoying every minute of it. Being behind the lens, I want to give others the chance to feel good, too. Hopefully I can get to know some of you on my journey. ❤️" . 📸 @foggphotoanddesign
Kyah, She/They . “I’m a lifelong Mainer who can't fathom why anyone wouldn't want to live in the woods, minutes from lakes and the ocean. Find me in my natural habitats; doing theatre in Portland, swimming in Sebago, or picking up dead stuff on Higgins Beach. My husband and my three cats (Saffron, @Marquis_Xavier_Bonpurr, and Raichu) and my hamster, Apricot, are my entire heart.” . @kyah_papayah
Emma, She/Her & Justin, He/Him . Emma, Artist and director of Queer Craft ME: “I’m an artist because I want to see change in the world. I want to create spaces that welcome neurodivergence, racial diversity, disability, and queerness. The fact that I can do something that makes people feel included and valued by putting some colors and shapes out into the world, it’s my own kind of magic.” . Justin, Freelance marketer and publicist for artists, and media coordinator for Queer Craft ME: “When people ask me why it's do important to see positive and accurate depictions of LGBTQ+ characters in all kinds of stories, (books, comics, TV, movies, etc.) I tell people that not everyone has the opportunity to interact with that community or every segment of that community themselves. That means the only impression of the community comes from the media they consume. Media shapes so much of who we are. If all queer characters are unlikable characters, it contributes to negative stereotypes. If they are sometimes likeable and sometimes unlikable, this reflects the real word and people won't assume anything about queer people. As you experience stories, it's a good idea to keep in mind how different groups are portrayed.” . Emma: Emmahindall.com @emmahindall + @scrambledeggshop @justa420 . Queer Craft: Queercraftme.com @queercraftmaine
Murray, They/Them . “I find it so hard to talk about myself as an artist. I could never have imagined calling myself that when I was younger. I grew up with some significant motor skills issues and so art classes caused a lot of frustration for me in school. I was creative but not "artistic". Finding this medium has been so freeing for me. I am the only one I know who does it, so there's no way to compare myself to others. I can simply create and appreciate my work for what it is.Plus, there's the bonus vindication that comes with finally putting all the shiny junk I find on the ground to good use instead of just putting it in a box and moving to like 5 different apartments without ever unpacking it.” . You can see more of Murray's work at @house_of_bedazzled_golems
Bryan Hansen, metalsmith and jeweler (He/They) . “It has been 27 years of sifting through, learning, and relearning the world around me and I’m still finding these crucial pieces of myself that had been buried by my own or another’s “good intentions.” It’s truly never too late to go searching. It can take a long time but you are worth every bit of that effort. 👄💄💋” . @bhansenmetals
Lena, She/They. The first friend I made in Maine six years ago, and my wonderful florist roommate. @lena_pinwoman to check out her beautiful arrangements.
Lindz, They/Them . “I’m a queer and trans non-binary multi-hyphenate creator who mostly makes queer and trans media for kids and families. I write books and tv, I perform and act, and I run my own small online business. I grew up in New York but for some reason always dreamed of living in Maine. That was just a pipe dream for a long time, something I didn’t think would happen until retirement (what does that mean anyways?). My wife got an opportunity to move here summer of 2019 and after some initial hesitation we drove everything we had up north. We fell in love with life here. My work can be really hard, especially considering the current political climate where trans kids and queer education are under attack. But my mental health has improved so much because I’m able to shut off the hustle and bustle of my busy and sometimes fraught work days by driving my dog ten minutes to the beach for a picture perfect walk along the water complete with majestic light houses.” . @lindzamer
Annie, She/Her & Rachel, She/Her . “After working in public health and advocacy for years, I (Rachel) stumbled into wedding photography and fell in love with how transformative an affirming photo experience can be. Several years later, I get to live the dream and spend my time celebrating and documenting queer love, connection, and community. And best of all I get to do it with my partner (Annie) filming next to me.” . @annie.the.baker @rachelepperlyfilmandphoto
Camille, They/Them . “I'm lucky to have amazing friends in Portland who love me for exactly who I am. For the first year or so after coming out, I really struggled with isolation and had to work through a lot of growing pains. It's been really incredible to see that as I've learned more about myself, and leaned more into my authenticity, my life has become so full of friendship, connection, and love. The energy from my queer community has helped me achieve some goals that have felt incredible, like making zines and learning how to play guitar! I feel really lucky that I get to be myself and I wish that for everybody, especially my trans and gender nonconforming homies (trans flag trans flag). And yeah, if there are any queers in Portland who watch One Piece hit me up!” . @howcamille