These Beautiful Photos of Black Gay Men Changed the Way I Saw Gay People

ByJason Myles

Before I moved to New York City from Indiana, I had a very narrow view on what a gay person "looked like." I really thought all gay men were "feminine" and lived for Pride. That's terrible, I know. You're probably judging me. That's okay, I'd judge me, too.

photo essay from Pulitzer-winning photographer Preston Gannaway reminded me just how naive I once was, and how much more I have to learn about my community. Thanks to this beautiful collection of portraits that chronicled a year in the life of Tavaris "Teddy Ebony" Edwards, a 21-year-old gay man living in Virginia public housing, my mind continues to open.

I didn't know many openly gay people until high school, and even then my parents didn't like me hanging around those with "alternative lifestyles." Since coming out last year I've learned just how diverse the gay community is.

Me: "You mean some gay men would rather play football than go to a fashion show?" 

Sadly stereotypical, I know. That's why it's great to see the mold being broken through photos like this:

Photo courtesy of Preston Gannaway.

Gannaway's project, originally set to run in the Virginian-Pilot, was pulled from publishing the day before it was set to print. Luckily, Time's Lightbox put the photographs up for the world to see. (You can also support her work on Kickstarter.)

I, for one, am better for it.