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Photos explore dynamics of youths' sexual identities

BY JAY REEVES
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- For many, it's difficult to understand Foster Noone's sexual identity. The 17-year-old uses the labels of bisexual, trans and gender neutral all at once.

A photography exhibition opening at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Wednesday night seeks to put a face on such young people while exploring the difficult dynamics of family acceptance of their identities in the Deep South.

The exhibit "Family Matters" features images of a dozen lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth ages 15 to 23 who were photographed by Carolyn Sherer. She previously displayed photographs of lesbians and their families for a 2012 show called "Living in Limbo."

Sherer, who photographed each young participant before a plain white background, said she didn't have any trouble finding subjects for the projects, even though living openly as a LGBTQ person can be difficult in Alabama — like many other places.

"The 12 youths who stood for these photographs are fearless, and they give me great hope for the future," Sherer said.

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