Lived Experience: Delphine Diallo's powerful portraits of LGBTQ+ people aged over 50

Alexis De Veaux (writer, speaker, activist) and Sokari Ekine (visual scholar, writer, activist, educator) © Delphine Diallo

Even with the extraordinary strides the LGBTQ+ movement has made in civil rights, acceptance, and visibility over the past half-century, a growing portion of the community remains largely invisible, its concerns relegated to the margins.

Photographer and visual artist Delphine Diallo hopes to bring them to light in a new series on LGBTQ+ people aged over fifty. This is a generation that has witnessed incredible tragedy and triumph, a generation that has lived in fear of loving who they love and who has been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, but who has also witnessed the extraordinary progress in LGBTQ+ rights, visibility, and acceptance that has taken place over the past fifty years.

Comprised of over sixty powerful portraits of people from all walks of life, together with interviews conducted by Delphine, Lived Experience honours and celebrates their rich, complex, and varied lives, offering unforgettable stories and intimate reflections on love and loss, on family and friendship, on building community, and the importance of remembering the past and the LGBTQ+ movement's radical roots.

Available in a new book, Lived Experience: Reflections on LGBTQ Life, is a sweeping picture of how decades of activism have impacted the everyday lives of so many and acts as a reminder that the fight for equality is not yet over.

"The journeys of the people in this book showed the beauty of life, from overcoming loneliness, pain, sadness, and loss to accepting who they really are and acknowledging their strength and determination when it comes to the way they have chosen to live," Delphine says. "I feel so honoured to have had the opportunity to hear these voices. Their words are a reminder of how acceptance and forgiveness, without judgment, can raise the consciousness of society."

Debbie Millman is amongst the subjects and shares her own story: "I didn't understand the concept of being gay until I was in college and I worked for the student newspaper. We were doing a special issue on LGBTQ people ... I interviewed a gay woman, and suddenly I had this sort of sense that being gay was being home."

Delphine Diallo is a Brooklyn-based French and Senegalese visual artist and photographer. She graduated from the Académie Charpentier School of Visual Art in Paris in 1999 before working in the music industry for seven years as a special effect motion artist, video editor, and graphic designer. In 2008, after working as a corporate art director in Paris, she moved to New York to explore her own practice. Diallo combines artistry with activism, pushing the many possibilities of empowering women, youth, and cultural minorities through visual provocation.

Lived Experience is the thirteenth title in this critically acclaimed photobook series which is a unique collaboration between the Arcus Foundation, Emerson, Wajdowicz Studios (EWS) and The New Press.

Kim Watson, Co-founder and Vice President, Community Kinship Life, Bronx, NY (services for local Trans community) © Delphine Diallo

Kim Watson, Co-founder and Vice President, Community Kinship Life, Bronx, NY (services for local Trans community) © Delphine Diallo

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary New York City;  Presbyterian minister in the Presbytery of New York City © Delphine Diallo

Fred Davie, Executive Vice President, Union Theological Seminary New York City; Presbyterian minister in the Presbytery of New York City © Delphine Diallo

Gwendolen Hardwick, Artistic and Education Director at Creative Arts Team, City University of New York (CUNY) © Delphine Diallo

Gwendolen Hardwick, Artistic and Education Director at Creative Arts Team, City University of New York (CUNY) © Delphine Diallo

Rabbi Sharon, Kleinbaum Spiritual leader of New York City's Congregation Beit Simchat Torah © Delphine Diallo

Rabbi Sharon, Kleinbaum Spiritual leader of New York City's Congregation Beit Simchat Torah © Delphine Diallo

Howard White, Collage Artist © Delphine Diallo

Howard White, Collage Artist © Delphine Diallo

Jay W. Walker, Activist © Delphine Diallo

Jay W. Walker, Activist © Delphine Diallo

Debbie Millman, writer, educator, artist, curator, and designer © Delphine Diallo

Debbie Millman, writer, educator, artist, curator, and designer © Delphine Diallo

Evelyn Whitaker, Educator © Delphine Diallo

Evelyn Whitaker, Educator © Delphine Diallo

Lola Flash, Photographer and Activist © Delphine Diallo

Lola Flash, Photographer and Activist © Delphine Diallo

Ken Kidd, Activist © Delphine Diallo

Ken Kidd, Activist © Delphine Diallo

Mark Erson (left) and Scott Jordan L Pastor at St. Lutheran’s Church, New York City © Delphine Diallo

Mark Erson (left) and Scott Jordan L Pastor at St. Lutheran’s Church, New York City © Delphine Diallo

Sonja Jackson, Educator © Delphine Diallo

Sonja Jackson, Educator © Delphine Diallo