Being attracted to men didn't bother me as much as how that attraction would play out. There aren't many black MSMs in the media so it was hard for me to reconcile my race and my masculinity with my attraction to men. I felt as though I would be seen as weak or effeminate by others.
At age 17 during my senior year of highschool, I was at a crossroads. "Should I turn against my religious beliefs and how I was raised or should I listen to my heart and live the life that I want?" I chose to be a righteous Christian and a good daughter. Yet, I felt more disconnected with my Faith each time I prayed about my "ungodly" feelings.
I am halfway through my exchange semester in the US, and enjoying all of the opportunities that an American college campus affords me. This past week, my campus put on an event called “Sexploration Week”. Run by the university's health center, this meant info-stands with free condoms, rapid-result, anonymous HIV testing, and several presentations by guest speakers. As both a curious college student and someone who is interested in the field of sex education, I was very excited about the event.
This glossy, 240-page photographic document features snapshots and extended photo essays on young people from all across the United States, from all walks of life: races and ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and more. In a day and age where youth are often unjustly portrayed as irresponsible, unaware, and even dangerous by adults who themselves are relying on stereotypes and fears (while forgetting their own teen years), the 'American Youth' photo book sheds light on the positive, unique diversity amongst teenagers in the USA.