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Out of Place is something that teenagers inheritantly feel. This is something I have always acknowledged and connected with. In the early nineties I documented teenagers in their bedrooms. I have always had an empathetic and creative connection with this age group and believed the bedroom was a place that they felt comfortable and maybe could express themselves so I chose this intimate place to photograph them. They were always responsive and eager to be photographed, as if my documentation somehow was a valid way to give voice to themselves. Fast forward and I had a teenager of my own. These kids are the first generation teenagers of the 21st century. Throughout the ages teenagers have had many of the same issues to deal with: angst, sadness, frustration, rollercoaster emotions and depression. This generation of teenagers are dealing with such complex issues that the very essence of who they, and hence, we are, as a society are being grappled with, advocated for, and ultimately taught to us the adults. They are driving the conversation and that dialogue is about gender. Gender dysphoria, cisgender, transgender, gender fluidity, gender nonconforming and gender non-binary. Whether these are appropriate labels and terms may not be clear but one thing is and that is you can google a comprehensive list of LGBTQ vocabulary definitions. And if we adults want to understand our teenagers we must allow ourselves to sit in the passenger seat. We must listen, trust and ultimately encourage and respect that the generation who is changing pronouns is ultimately doing something far more important. They are changing society’s strict binary views and are changing gender norms. Though they may feel comfortable and ultimately free that they don’t have to have their gender expressions beaten out of them, like so many before them, it is a weighty burden.

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