E Q U A L I T Y  //  A  P E R S O N A L  P R O J E C T

*written before the nationwide marriage equality

I have (had) two grandfathers (both maternal side as my dad is out of the picture). My grandmother remarried after my biological grandfather came out of the closet (not immediately after as she tried her best to remain devoted to him). I would consider both of them to be pretty incredible men. 

My biological grandfather who is no longer with us, was a talented actor and artist. I remember watching him on stage and feeling so special when he took me to his cast parties. He was a celebrity in my eyes. He loved music, movies, and the arts. I was always in awe at the creations he would make, especially around the holidays, the way he would decorate, the things he would make for me. He was a true creative, in every sense of the word. 

My "step-grandfather" was my father figure growing up, my Papa. I adored him as a child and still do today. He is kind, generous, warm, and supportive. He treats my grandmother like a queen, similar to the way he treats us. As a child, I remember him taking me everywhere - showing me the snow, the stream, the wild. He loves camping, trains, Texas, and gun collecting. Most of all, he loves his family -- and it's written all over him.

When the subject of guns or marriage equality come up, I can't help but think of my grandfathers. I love that my responsible gun-collecting Papa has the constitutional, federal right to bear arms. I wish my other grandfather could have enjoyed his constitutional, federal right to equal protection & treatment. For that, I will continue to keep fighting for him and for all my gay friends -- for humanity in general. Ironically, the states that still have gay marriage bans, are the ones with the most gun ownership support, often citing their constitutional right when in conversation. I created this image - to help us all reflect on the fact that there are amendments to protect both. Every time marriage equality is granted in another state, I feel I can breathe a bit easier. I'm looking forward to the day when all states join the club. Until then, lets keep fighting. 

Thank you to all three of my dear friends who modeled for me during this shoot (you are definitely the cutest couple ever).  To my friends who I consulted with during the project. To my Papa for letting me borrow his prized possessions. To Kealii - for being you, my Wilma. And to my mother Janice - for demonstrating acceptance and love since the day I was born. For taking care of him. I love you. 

 If you are ever looking for a charity to donate to, please consider Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Cares is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.