Tag: community

What is Discord and how can it help your Twitch community?

BiWhat is Discord and how can it help your Twitch community?

With millions of users, Discord has become a major tool for gamers and Twitch streamers alike.

Its prime focus has been gaming communities, which is why it’s so popular with streamers. However, anyone can use it for chatting with friends – both text and voice chat – in any capacity, for any kind of community group.

So, what is Discord?

Free to use – with a paid Nitro option available for enhanced features – Discord is a social tool to build a community. Once you’ve created a server, you can divide it into channels to separate whichever topics your community will cover in text chat.

Discord also offers voice chat channels, which is a key reason it’s so popular with gamers looking to chat while playing multiplayer games. Voice calls can be direct to individuals, groups or within channels.

Servers can be either public or private. Private servers are for closed communities away from strangers. Public servers allow larger groups of fans to come together under a common interest, use custom emotes, and dedicate moderators to ban unwanted members.

It’s these public servers that have become an integral part of the Twitch community. Many streamers will have a concurrent Discord server, allowing them to interact with their viewers off stream and organise multiplayer sessions with voice chat.

So why has it become so popular? We spoke with members of the Rainbow Arcade LGBT+ stream team to discuss their views.

Why is it used by streamers?

“Discord is hugely important for streamers and their communities,” says Rainbow Arcade founding member Justin Moore. “Live streaming allows us to connect with people in real time, and we build special bonds with our communities that often resonate outside of the stream alone. Discord servers provide a space for communities to grow together and flourish even when you’re off-stream.”

Twitch streaming might be a live activity, but community building happens 24/7. As Biggus Bennus says: “Twitch might be where your community joins, but Discord is where they become friends. There are some people who want to be part of the community but can’t be around due to work or whatnot and Discord is a great place to catch up.”

Biggus Bennus
Biggus Bennus (Rainbow Arcade)

As such, streaming isn’t just about watching someone play games online. It’s about building a community, forming friendships, and fostering a safe space for LGBT+ viewers. Having a Discord server allows your viewers to communicate and help each other, even when you’re not live.

“Discord gives you a great way to stay connected with your community even when you’re not streaming, and gives your viewers a place to hang out where the vibes are the same as your channel’s vibes,” says Jeff Brutlag

“It’s also a great place to do things like movie nights, off-stream game nights, and other events that you can make more intimate as a way of fostering a closer connection with you and the members of your community. This way, you can schedule events where you don’t have to be as ‘on’ in an entertaining way, and you can still foster some great community vibes.”

How can it help your community?

A Discord server brings your community together even when you’re not streaming. It’s a great way to keep momentum going and inform your community of your schedule, make announcements, or host community events.

“Discord is amazing because it’s always community engagement 24/7,” says TopazTVee. “It being available on mobile is amazing for those who may not have access to a computer. Discord is amazing for accessibility for all to be able to participate, get information to your community fast, and to stay connected.”

It’s particularly helpful for setting up multiplayer games both on and off stream. Sealburn’s community uses voice chat for “watching videos, chatting as you work/do school work, or playing games together. This has helped a lot of people become very comfortable with chatting with each other and building friendship with not only you as a streamer but with each other.”

Cheratomo. (Rainbow Arcade)

For Justin’s community, Discord has proved an invaluable tool during the pandemic. “Discord becomes a place where the silliness and fun can continue or – perhaps more importantly – a place where your community can rally around and support each other during the hard times,” he says. “I especially saw this through 2020 with the COVID pandemic. The community rallied together during streams obviously, but it was absolutely amazing to watch folks come together and support each other [in Discord] during the very trying past year.”

Discord also provides an opportunity for streamers to curate their community more closely than on Twitch itself. Says drag artist AmethystMillennia: “[Discord] gives my community the opportunity to have a safe, brave space to be their most authentic self because they know that no one will judge them. Plus memes. So many memes.”

How do you moderate your community?

Creating that safe space is especially important for LGBT+ streamers. There are plenty of ways to safeguard your server like permission gating and member roles, as this video from Stephneee_plz outlines. 

What’s more, moderating your Discord channel can directly impact your Twitch stream. 

“For me it’s also been a good place to have fun but also state rules and boundaries,” says Go_JG. “I keep a few different documents that I let the community know will change and evolve over time and when I share them in the Discord I also let people know I’m interested in their feedback. Discord is also great for organizing fundraisers or special events, and having a safe space for Mods to speak off stream.”

Drag streamer Dona Tarte also praises the benefits of moderators: “As streamers, we do tend to rely on our moderator team and for me, Discord has allowed me to get to know them better and with their help, fashion a much more welcoming safe-space.”

Having a Discord server, then, is a great way to expand your Twitch community. Many streamers use it, but it’s not totally necessary to add to your stream. As Cheratomo says: “Discord has given a core hub to my community for people to bond in and hang out and play games together. I really love my Discord and consider it a big part of my streams, but if you try it and dislike it, don’t feel pressured to keep it.”

We’ve also got a guide to Twitch by Rainbow Arcade, you can read it here. 

Almost One Quarter of LBQ Women Are Parents; Bisexual Moms Feel Less Connected to LGBTQ Community, Study Finds

Almost One Quarter of LBQ Women Are Parents; Bisexual Moms

A new study has found that nearly one quarter (22.8 percent) of cisgender lesbian, bisexual, and queer women ages 18 to 59 have children. Compared with non-parent LBQ women, the parents were more likely to be bisexual, in a relationship with a man, and non-urban. What does that mean for the LGBTQ parenting community and its representation?

Bisexual flag

Photo credit: Peter Salanki; adapted under a CC BY 2.0 license

This latest study, from researchers affiliated with the Williams Institute at UCLA, is the first to use a U.S. population-based sample to compare the mental health of lesbian, bisexual, and other-identified female parents and non-parents. Its findings about the rate of parenthood among LBQ individuals corresponds to previous work showing that an estimated 24 percent of female same-sex couples have children.

Among lesbian women, the oldest non-parents reported more happiness and less psychological distress than the youngest non-parents. (Perhaps there is wisdom that comes with age.) There was no difference, however, in happiness and psychological distress among the parents in different age groups. Non-parents, however, indicated more internalized homophobia than parents. The authors don’t hypothesize why this might be; I’d venture a guess that it’s because children often force us to be out in ways we never imagined.

Bisexual parents in the study, however, reported more psychological distress and lower life satisfaction and happiness than lesbian parents, something the researchers found surprising, “because the overwhelming majority of bisexual parents are in relationships with male partners and thus would likely be viewed as heterosexual by the general public.”

Parenthood for bisexual mothers involved with male partners thus comes at a cost from both the general public and the LGBT community.

Although one might assume there are benefits to being viewed as heterosexual, however, the researchers say their results are consistent with findings of other studies that show sexual minority women with male partners “reported less connection to the LGBT community and greater anxiety” and that many bisexual mothers experience binegativity and exclusion by lesbian communities. “Parenthood for bisexual mothers involved with male partners thus comes at a cost from both the general public and the LGBT community,” the current study concludes. The youngest group of bisexual women reported more community connectedness than bisexual women of other age groups, though.

Even parents with “emerging identities,” such as “queer, pansexual, asexual, and others,” reported “more social support from friends, and were lower on internalized homophobia than bisexual parents. Although the number of parents with other sexual identities was small, our results indicate that these parents are finding support and experiencing pride in their identities, contrary to bisexual parents.”

Co-author Esther D. Rothblum, visiting distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, said in a statement, “There is a unique form of bias against people who have both same-sex and different-sex attractions and sexual relationships, and this may be why we see poorer mental health outcomes for bisexual parents.”

Another recent study confirms that the majority of LGBT adults (54.6 percent) identify as bisexual. And we’ve long known there are millions of bisexual parents, most in different-sex relationships. Yes, that may sometimes give them the advantage of “passing” as straight, but as this study shows, there are significant disadvantages as well. And parents who feel excluded and distressed may convey that stress to their children. It’s not good for anyone. The takeaway, for me, is that the LGBTQ community needs to do more to include, support, and represent bisexual parents.

The study is “Mental Health of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Other-identified Parents and Non-Parents from a Population-Based Study,” Journal of Homosexuality, by Mark Assink, Ph.D., Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., Bianca D. M. Wilson, Ph.D., Nanette Gartrell, M.D., and Henny M. W. Bos, Ph.D. (2021).

Ian McKellen welcomes JoJo Siwa to the LGBT community

Ian McKellen welcomes JoJo Siwa to the LGBT community

Sir Ian McKellen kept it classy with a message of support for JoJo Siwa (John Phillips/Getty)

Sir Ian McKellen warmly welcomed YouTuber JoJo Siwa to the LGBT+ community with a heartfelt message of support on Twitter.

Seventeen-year-old Dance Moms star Siwa publicly came out on 22 January, sharing a photo of herself in a t-shirt that read: “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”

Her low-key announcement prompted an onslaught of media attention which saw the young star’s home being stormed by police after an alleged “swatting” by paparazzi, who lay in wait outside.

She’s also had to deal with a number of angry parents who believe she’s no longer fit to be a children’s entertainer, and lack the shame to keep their homophobia to themselves.

JoJo Siwa has remained upbeat despite all the drama, thanks in large part to the outpouring of support from her many young followers – but there was one older fan who wanted to share the love too.

Being experienced in matters of the press and the heart, Sir Ian, 81, addressed her directly on Twitter.

“I hope JoJo Siwa puts aside any negative reaction to her coming-out, at a time when she deserves praise and empathy for taking control of her life in such a public way,” he wrote.

Several fans praised McKellen’s sweet message to Siwa, commenting: “Us older LGBT+ have to support the younger ones as they come out.”

“It’s brave to speak one’s truth, and to do so in this way, at this age, is incredible. JoJo deserves all the praise!” said one. “Thank you, Sir Ian, for publicly being by her side.”

“Legends supporting legends,” another added. “This tweet is so beautiful, it represents so much. Thank you Sir Ian.”

Others, however, were mostly just thrilled that Sir Ian McKellen actually knows who JoJo Siwa is.


Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary and Gender Creative Characters

Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary

Two new picture books show us nonbinary and gender creative kids having imaginative adventures in their fun, welcoming, queer, and sometimes magical communities.

Imagination and Community in Two New Picture Books with Nonbinary and Gender Creative Characters Creative fun! Posted on October 26, 2020 Two new picture books show us nonbinary and gender creative kids having adventures in their fun, welcoming, queer and sometimes magical communities. Hooray, What a Day - A More Graceful Shaboom A More Graceful Shaboom - Jacinta Bunnell

A More Graceful Shaboom, written by Jacinta Bunnell and illustrated by Crystal Vielula (PM Press), is a surreal romp of a book that follows Harmon Jitney, a nonbinary child with “an extravagant collection of belongings” that they find hard to keep organized. They decide a purse is the answer, but their two mothers and sister are too busy with their own projects to help. Mama Millie Mapletush, for example, is “building an XJ-6350 Millennium Bipedal Astro Welding Robot from scratch,” whose components include a dishwasher and a movie theater popcorn machine.

Finally, a gender creative neighbor says he has a collection of purses, though he can’t quite remember where he put them. He and Harmon look behind a series of doors that reveal things as varied as a giant Muffin Monster, polar ice caps, and 66,500 Brussels sprouts. Ultimately, they find the purses. Harmon selects the purse of their dreams and proceeds to collect all of their treasured things into it, from belongings to friends, town, and, well, the entire universe. The magical ending is a celebration of community and love.

There’s an inspired silliness about the whole tale. It’s unclear exactly what age group the book is targeting, though, as the wordiness and level of vocabulary seem geared far above the usual picture-book range. Not that I’m against books that stretch young readers in this regard; adults should just be aware that they may need to do some explaining as they read through the book with kids, as least the first few times. What I appreciate most about it, though, is that the book isn’t “about” gender or identity, but rather about gender diverse characters simply having joyous adventures. We need more books like this.

Hooray, What a Day - Molly Allis

Another new book that takes a similar joyous approach is Hooray, What A Day!/¡Viva, Qué Día! by Molly Allis, available through Allis’ website. The bilingual book is an extension of All Together Now, an animated kids’ show that Allis is creating. The show stars a child named Frankie, described as gender non-conforming in the show notes, who uses “they” pronouns and lives with their grandma. Frankie’s best friend is Jesse, who lives with his two dads and uses male pronouns, but likes to wear skirts, jewelry, and sometimes makeup. The book takes us on a day-long adventure as the two friends explore their queer and colorful community. They go to a parade, visit the community garden, stop at the cafe owned by one of Jesse’s dads, and make zines at the local bookstore.

Queerness is everywhere—Grandma makes rainbow pancakes and has Indigo Girls and ACT UP posters in her kitchen; we see rainbow and trans flags in the community; and several characters at the parade are clearly gender creative. More general progressive messages are also strewn throughout: one character wears a “Black Lives Matter” shirt; the parade marchers carry signs saying, “Otro Mundo Es Posible,” and “Be the Change.” At the end of the day, after storytime with Grandma, Frankie reflects on how happy they are to have spent the day in their community with friends and chosen family.

Hooray, What A Day!/¡Viva, Qué Día! doesn’t have the fantastical tone of A More Graceful Shaboom, but Allis’ multi-colored people and richly detailed backgrounds are equally imaginative and fun. Potential readers should know, though, that while queerness abounds in the community, Frankie and Jesse’s identities aren’t clear from the book alone, but only from the show notes on Allis’ website. We don’t learn that Frankie uses “they”; we might assume from the illustrations that Jesse is a cisgender, gender conforming girl; we meet one of Jesse’s dads, but never know he has two. It’s true that the story isn’t “about” Frankie and Jesse’s gender or family structure, and as I’ve explained, we need more stories like that. But is the lack of clarity about their identities a missed opportunity for queer representation or a chance for readers to assume identities for them that the readers can relate to, no matter what the author intended? I leave that to your interpretation. (Now that you’ve read this post, of course, you can inform young readers of the author’s intended identities for the characters as you see fit.)

Regardless, the community that Allis depicts is clearly full of other, if minor, characters who are more obviously queer, and it’s packed full of queer iconography. Frankie and Jesse are at ease with it all, so even if their identities are here unknown, this remains an empowering, queer-inclusive book that will brighten any bookshelf. Let’s hope there are more books (along with the still-pending show) about the diverse people of this cheery and inclusive world.

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the intersectionality of the Black wedding industry and the LGBTQ+ community

All Black Lives Matter: the intersectionality of the Black wedding industry and the LGBTQ+ community

All Black Lives Matter: the intersectionality of the Black wedding industry and the LGBTQ+ community

The Best LGBT Photographers Documenting Our Community

The Best LGBT Photographers Documenting Our Community

Photography plays an important part in documenting the experiences of queer people. LGBT photographers have documented everything from the biggest touchpoints of the queer rights movement all the way through the tiniest most intimate details of our journey to create families of choice. Media representation of our community hasn’t always been as accessible as it is now – keep in mind that it wasn’t until the 90s that we even saw LGBT characters on TV. The LGBT photographers on our list today have given our community the gift of access to millions of queer people from every walk of life. These photographers have allowed us to see ourselves reflected in the media we consume. There’s immense power in seeing yourself reflected- not only does it allow us to see the diversity and nuance in our people, but it also gives us models of hope for our future.

Grace Chu

Grace Chu is a 2018 Brooklyn Nightlife Awards Winner Best Photographer. Official photographer of Reykjavik Pride 2018 and 2019. House of Yes, Hot Rabbit, Ellis, Whitney Day Events, Babetown, Alexander Wang, and more. Grace loves capturing anything with movement and exuberance. Grace says the best part of her job is capturing happiness, letting go of inhibitions and ferocity, because this world can be a rigid and unhappy place. Getting the shot for the performers in queer nightlife, because they put so much time into their craft and looks that they should be documented and recorded. Traveling abroad for shoots and making new friends. Really, all of it. Grace’s tips for hiring a photographer are “I’m just going to put out the obligatory heads up to anyone wanting an outdoor shoot in NYC, which is one of the most crowded places in the world: the best time for an outdoor shoot is early in the morning right after sunrise. Yes, I know it is early, but if you want excellent lighting you have two choices when it is sunny: right after sunrise, or right before sunset. Everyone wants a shoot at an iconic public place in NYC, such as Central Park or Brooklyn Bridge, but if you go during sunset, groups of tourists will be in them taking the exact same shots. So if you want other people taking selfies in your special photo or photo-bombing, choose sunset. They have every right to use a public place as you do. So if you’re fine with a bunch of strangers potentially making funny faces or scratching their butt in the background, by all means, go at sunset. But if you want it all to yourself, choose sunrise. If you can’t get up early, then choose a place off the beaten path.”

Follow Grace Chu: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Jamie Thrower

Jamie Thrower is the owner and Queer femme photographer at Studio XIII Photography, an LGBTQ photography studio. In addition to being a published photographer, she is an avid traveler, writer and loves combining activism and photography whenever possible. She lives in Portland, OR with her wife, their dog and cat, and chickens named after L-word characters. Yes, really. Jamie loves photographing people. Whether it’s couples or a family or an individual– there’s a humbling power in being able to photograph and capture someone’s essence and energy. I get to bring my most creative self and document what I see— I love tapping into all the feels. Jamie says the best part of her job is “I love telling Queer love stories. I love telling family love stories, romantic love stories, and self-love stories. Being able to capture my community in such a vulnerable and special way is something that feels so incredibly humbling to me. I get to meet so many wonderful people through my job and share in the magic that is being a part of the LGBTQ community. I couldn’t feel more lucky to connect to my community in this way.” Jamie’s tips for hiring a photographer “Find someone whose work you connect with deeply. Don’t think about whether or not it’s trendy, or the photographer has 10 or 10K followers— find someone whose work makes you feel something. Find someone whose lens you want to be seen with.” Upcoming for Jamie is “I’m hoping to continue my Studio XIII Stripped sessions and do more creative portrait sessions for members of the Queer community. I have big dreams of publishing a book someday :)”

Follow Jamie Thrower: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook

Matthew Schueller

Matthew Schueller is a travel photographer from Portland Oregon who focuses on portraiture and LGBTQ+ lifestyle works. Alongside his husband, Michael they travel the world together to find the best of the best in LGBTQ+ hotels, tours, and locations. Matthew went to school for photography in Seattle, worked for a Peruvian nonprofit after graduating, and resettled in the Pacific North West to work in social media and travel in 2018. When they aren’t traveling together, Michael works as a dentist locally and Matthew writes for a men’s wedding publication. Matthew says his favorite photography to shoot is “Portraits and journalistic style travel photography. I love getting into a new environment and exploring it through photograph”. Matthew says “The absolute best part of my job is meeting people around the world that I surprisingly fall in love with. Whenever traveling to a new place, it’s bound that there will be new people there. What’s unexpected, is that over time and through mutual experiences, all of the walls that we put up in everyday life seem to come down and the people we are surrounded with become our best friends. I love that about travel… and in a working environment where we may be under pressure to capture content pertaining to a specific assignment, working together it sometimes feels like I’m inheriting a new family. Travel and photography are incredible and can be super difficult things, but what makes it all worth it, in the end, are the people I meet along the way. It’s the most unexpected, surprising, and outright craziest thing I’m grateful for. I’ve met people along the way that I couldn’t possibly imagine my life without.” And his advice for couples looking to hire a photographer “Make sure you get along well with your photographer! A personal connection between the photographer and their subjects is super important when creating art together, plus having someone alongside that you love hanging with is always amazing when experiencing something together! Another tip is to make sure you like their photographic style! Photographers have a huge variety of styles from super informal candid photos to extremely curated and polished extravagant scenes. Questions to ask yourself are, “What am I looking for in professional photography, what is my personal style I’d like communicated, and what will these photographs be used for.?” You can find that some photographers will allow flexibility when editing photographs and others may have a strict formula. Depending on the purpose, marketing, brand or even personal use of the photographs you’re looking to get, these are all important questions and conversations to have with your photographer prior to hiring.” What Matthew has planned for upcoming projects “The nature of the beast is that this job is completely different from one week to another. A lot of the time I have no idea what’s happening next! Currently, I’m looking forward to a few projects next year that are going to bring Michael and me from Scotland to Italy, to Greece! I’m excited to continue working with the publications I consult and write for, and I’m ecstatic about the potential of developing a long-term project with a tour company abroad!”

Follow Matthew Schueller here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Tess Harrison

Tess Harrison is just a small town girl chasing her dream of capturing all the beauty that life gives us. Tess shoots boudoir and landscape photography. When asked about the best part of their job, Tess says, “The very best part of this job is getting to restore peoples self-image. When they see the final product, it’s almost if they’re falling in love with themselves all over again. Seeing their faces light up is the best feeling ever.” And Tess’ advice for couples looking to hire a photographer is “No matter what kind of shoot you’re booking, always get a feel for your photographer beforehand. If you’re not fully comfortable with your photographer then the photos will definitely reflect it!” Tess also stated she has planned upcoming projects. “I’m starting a little themed photography series. I also just booked a shoot for the Hooters calendar auditions.”

Follow Tess Harrison here: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Kelly Balch

Kelly Balch is a Queer international wedding and editorial photographer and loves photographing couples of any kinds in any kind of love, lust, or desire. The best part of Kelly’s job is “The connecting of spirits and capturing human experiences and feelings.” Kelly’s advice for hiring a photographer is “First look at my work, look how I edit and capture emotion. If you like it then reach out and meetup. The deciding factor is to see If we vibe and connect. Essentially I want all the people I photograph to be friends”. Kelly has this planned for upcoming projects “My upcoming project that I have is a collaboration with a queer artist who paints raw emotion while she is bare and raw. We will be collaborating on art pieces and my photography and will be showing it in an Los Angeles gallery come spring 2020.”

Follow Kelly Balch here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Steph Grant

I’m Steph Grant. Owner of Steph Grant Studios (a global, full-service media agency owned and operated by a powerhouse team of LGBTQ+ creatives. Specializing in bringing your business to life through a compelling compilation of rich video production and show-stopping imagery) and Founder of the Promote Love Movement (a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community raised in a religious environment to connect and share their stories). I believe in the importance of being visible and vocal for those in our community who cannot. Sharing our stories can change minds and softens hearts. I have experienced this firsthand through my work as a photographer and during my own coming out process. It’s so rewarding to have complete strangers say that they felt like they had a front row seat at the events that I have shot or that after seeing my images and stories they can no longer support their stance against the LGBTQ+ community. Random Facts: Known for being the first LGBTQ+ Wedding photographer in the industry and for photographing the first lesbian Indian wedding in the US which went viral in 2013 with 81K people on my site in 1 day. Recognized on the Senate floor in CA in 2018 for my work with the LGBTQ+ community. Spoke on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community at a Google event & Rebelution Resurge in NYC…where I was asked to share my story and engage in conversations surrounding inclusion and representation in the wedding industry. Was the face of Fossil’s 2019 Pride Campaign and was asked to share my story for their social media campaign. Featured in “Proud Women: A Collection of Women Who are Proud to Represent the LGBTQ+ Community.” Steph’s favorite kind of photography is portraits and says the best part of their job is “The people. And that it’s always a wild adventure that keeps me on my toes.” Steph’s tips for looking to hire a photographer are “Have a Skype chat with your photographer and see how you vibe. You’ll be with them most on your wedding day… it needs to feel effortless.” Steph’s upcoming projects include “Launching StephGrant.com in 2020. It’s my new brand site with fresh content and the story of my last 10 years in business! It’s important to see the progress. I believe it helps others relate and also helps me take some time to sit back and be proud of my accomplishments.”

Follow Steph Grant here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Tara Beth Robertson

Tara Robertson is the owner of Tara Beth Photography and an LGBTQIA+ Destination Wedding Photographer. Tara’s favorite kind of photography is all kinds of love! Any love! Love, Love, Love! Tara says the best part of her job is “Being able to celebrate two people in love every weekend! What could be better than that, all the while creating art? It’s incredible.” For upcoming projects, Tara says “I’m diving into my 2020 wedding season! The whole year is a project!” Tara’s advice for those looking to hire a photographer are “Fall in love with them! Make sure that you are excited about them + their work. Make sure that you trust them as well. You shouldn’t feel the need to give them a “shot list” if you trust that your photographer has it covered. Also, it helps if their personality matches yours!” Tara will be diving into the 2020 wedding season! The whole year is a project!

Follow Tara Robertson here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook

Erica Camille

Erica Camille is an LGBT wedding photographer based in NYC and SE Asia. Erica’s favorite kind of photography is candid moments at weddings and parties and travel. Erica says the best part of the job is “Knowing that people actually care about my photos, they mean something to my clients. And on a personal level – how much freedom it’s given me as a career.” For upcoming projects, Erica says, “I’m photographing an intimate music festival in Thailand in March. Colours of Love at Baba Beach Club in Phuket.” Erica’s advice for those looking for a photographer is “Ask to see full galleries, don’t skip hiring a photographer because your friend offered to take pictures, and make sure they have back up equipment.”

Follow Erica Camille here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Eden Estes

Eden Estes is a queer, gender diverse, published photographer who specializes in fashion, runway, political, editorial work. Eden loves making people see in themselves what the world already does! Eden’s favorite kind of photography is editorial. Their favorite part about the job is “Meeting new people, especially the queer community around me. I love hearing others stories and they often tell me and it opens up our vulnerability to each other and creates a safe and comfortable space to create art, no matter the style.” When asked about upcoming projects, Eden says, “I was asked to be a campaign photographer for a queer woman politician running for office. I am organizing a very diverse, designer runway focusing mainly, and only on designers, models, business owners, and artists of color. I am dipping my toes into videography for a political project as well as began managing several queer models.” Eden’s advice for those looking to hire a photographer “Find someone who’s work represents everything you envision. Cost plays a factor but these will last forever. Sometimes some things are worth saving up for. I think memorable photos are one.”

Follow Eden Estes here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook

Debbie Lamonte

I’m Debbie Lemonte but you can call be DJ. I am an NYC/NJ-based wedding, portrait, and lifestyle photographer. This epic journey all started when my close friend gifted me my first camera, a Canon T3i. After graduating with a degree in Dance and Psychology, I focused my passion for both studies & infused it with my love for art, thrusting myself full-time into learning photography & building a business. I believe photography is a powerful and transformative art form and everyone deserves quality photography service while capturing a special day. I use my charisma, genuine spirit, and flexibility to help my clients feel warm & comfortable while enjoying a personable experience in front of the camera. My work has been featured on NBC News, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, The Cut, Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, DapperQ, to name a few. Weddings and Elopements are Debbie’s Favorite kind of photography. Debbie says Meeting new people and learning new culture is their favorite part of the job! Upcoming, Debbie will be “I’ll be restarting my Queer Couples Project as well as my We Are Queens project. My focus on each project is to include only folks within the LGBTQIA company as my subjects from various walks of life, regardless of race or body size.” When asked for advice about hiring a photographer, Debbie says, “Always choose someone you have chemistry with & work you’re familiar with. It’ll make the day less stressful.”

Follow Debbie Lemonte here: Web Page, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


Noelle Rappleyea

Fabulous Femme, Noelle Rappleyea was born into the business of wedding photography. Her Mother has been capturing beautiful moments for as long as she can remember. By age 10 she had a camera of her own and by age 16 she was equipped with the skills to start capturing weddings. Over ten years have passed since that first wedding and this New York-based photographer has carved out her own path in the industry. Her work has been featured in The Knot, Premier Bride, Get Married, Inside Weddings, and Wedding Style. She does an incredible job capturing the joy, raw excitement of her guests. Weddings, engagements, maternity shoots, and anything in between Noelle is ready to grab her camera and help capture the magic in every moment. 

Follow Noelle Rappleyea here: Instagram, Web Page, Facebook

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