Local photographer promotes equality and LGBTQ representation through photographs

HealthCare Advocates International says by chronicling through photographs taken locally and as far as Zimbabwe where the group set up an HIV clinic, they have captured the concepts of bringing people together and promoting equality

News 12 Staff

Jun 19, 2023, 9:51 PM

Updated 338 days ago

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A local photographer is focusing his lens on promoting unity, equality and LGBTQ representation.
"I grew up as a child in the 80s and the 90s and back then there was no representation for the LGBTQ community," said Thomas Evans.
The 48-year-old says his journey to self-acceptance has been a long series of careful steps that began when he first came out when he was 26 just has he entered recovery from addiction.
"I had to recover from that and then start peeling the layers away to find out who I was because I was pretending, I was acting," he said.
Evans is the creative director at HealthCare Advocates International in Stratford, a nonprofit clinic fighting stigma and discrimination in the LGBTQ community.
"I started to express myself authentically and fearlessly and that led me to Dr. Gary Blick," Evans said.
"Bringing Thomas into HealthCare Advocates International is what we're all about. We're all about family," Blick said.
Blick, the nonprofit's founder and chief medical officer, says by chronicling through photographs taken locally and as far as Zimbabwe where the group set up an HIV clinic, Evans has captured the concepts of bringing people together and promoting equality, especially through two campaigns the organization started: HIV Equal and Stigma Warriors.
"That's what we look for in Pride Month are those kinds of connections so people feel like they belong to a community, so people can find people who love one another," said Blick. "There are so many anti-LGBTQ feelings out there, anti-transgender feelings out there."
"Just let them be. As long as no one's hurting anybody, let people live. Live and let live," said Blick.
Evans says the photos are meant to capture not just members of the LGBTQ community, but the full spectrum of humanity.
"Society has always put out a message that femininity is weak and vulnerable and I'm sort of reclaiming that in transforming that message and creating more power around that," Evans said.
To the people who view his art and may be uncomfortable with it, the photographer says, "Being uncomfortable is okay. We all fear uncomfortable in certain ways. You just don't act out on those feelings."
For more information on HealthCare Advocates International, click here.


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