MY PEOPLE | MY TRIBE & MARDI GRAS 2017

Josh Feeney.

Josh Feeney.

Launching in 2015, My People | My Tribe is a community group focused on telling and sharing LGBTQ+ stories that educate, enlighten and inspire.

The overall goal of My People | My Tribe is to show that whilst you may not have found your tribe yet, there is community out there waiting to receive you with open arms. By showcasing the lived experiences of real LGBTQ+ people My People | My Tribe endeavours to create media that reflects who you are. Seeing content about you, for you, enables us as LGBTQ+ people to feel validated. To feel that our lives matter. It is our similarities and our differences that have the power to unite and strengthen us as a community. 

To me, Mardi Gras is in my blood. Mardi Gras was the catalyst for me to find out what a gay person was. Mardi Gras was where my parents had their very first date and so to me being involved with Mardi Gras was always meant to be. I have been going as a spectator since I was a child and haven’t missed a parade in the last decade!

My first time participating in the Mardi Gras parade was to commemorate my parents 30th anniversary and I have been on a float every year since. For me Mardi Gras is my happiest time of year, they don’t call it Gay Christmas for nothing. It is this magical window of time where anything is possible. The intolerances of the world seem to be suspended and the hearts of many are open and willing to embrace the LGBTQ+ community and the rainbow of people that that includes.

The fact that Mardi Gras have chosen my project, #barenakedtruth, to illustrate the festival this year is beyond an honour. I was always hopeful that one year there might be a chance that part of my face might appear in the background of one of the Mardi Gras promotional images so to go from that to having #barenakedtruth as the face of the festival is huge and awe inspiring. The whole process of having the project chosen and being involved with Mardi Gras exemplifies the spirit of collaboration that I value so highly and that is key to the work I do with My People | My Tribe.

The #barenakedtruth photos would not be possible without the collaboration of photographers, participants and all of those willing to help spread the stories. I continue to collaborate with photographers and participants from all over the world and am so excited for what will be a stunning Mardi Gras 2017!

- Josh Feeney

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LUCY

"If you really knew me you would know I am a Registered Nurse, that I have a great capacity for caring, love and fun. I ride a motorbike and love music and animals. I have wonderful family and friends. You would know that I am a widow. That I was married to my wife for eight years.

"You would know that our beautiful wedding, vows and love was not legally recognised. You would learn of the struggles I faced after my wife's death two years ago, to prove we were a couple - that I am the next of kin. The automatic rights of married couples are lost to same sex unions. It is an abomination that I had to provide statutory declarations and photos of our wedding day to prove we were a couple that 'considered themselves' married.

"I am barely a sliver of the whole me that once lived a wonderfully happy life, in love with my soul mate. I am strong, kind and brave. I have tattoos dedicated to my wife. I am facing new challenges everyday as someone I never thought I would be, or could be. Ever honouring the love of my life. Michelle died of a brain tumour - aged forty-nine.

"My bare naked truth is my grief. Stripped back of the many layers we (all) carry, I am naked in my grief. Vulnerable, honest and real."

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BENNY

"I'm a romantic at heart. I let my heart lead me, sometimes to my own detriment. I was beyond happy when gay marriage was legalised in my country of New Zealand as it accepted that our love was no different than that of anyone else.

"When I first came out as a homosexual, I naturally looked to the media for a portrayal of what I thought I should be. This image didn't show romance or falling in love, but rather the opposite.

"Through my own trials and errors, friendships forged, lovers lost, but most importantly opening my eyes to all aspects of my community around me. I have found my place."

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VICKI

"As a queer woman facing a double mastectomy today, I would be completely lost without the support of my phenomenal queer community and their wonderful broad vision of body image, sexuality, and what means to live honestly and openly. So much love."

Vicki .jpg

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BRENTON

"I've never been a wildly confident guy but I have had a life filled with a fair bit of fun and adventure so far.

"There have been short-term relationships and sexual encounters. Picking up some emotional baggage along the way from failed romances, dating people I should have stayed clear of and a gay world telling me I'm unrealistic and even stupid for wanting monogamy, my confidence is about as low as it's ever been.

"Now in my forties the feelings of never being "enough" combined with not being happy with a body that I've taken for granted all these years leaves me wondering if I'll ever find someone to love or if I'll even know how to be a decent partner if I do."

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ZOE

"As soon as I realised I was attracted to women I identified as a Lesbian. I had no doubts and had a sense of finally feeling like I had things sussed out about myself, this felt right and comfortable and me. I have always been proud to be out and felt lucky to live in a place that for the most part, I was safe being out. Since I came out 17 years ago, I have challenged those around me to see that LGBTIQ attractions are entirely normal.

The hardest person to tell was my Dad because I knew he would struggle, and he did for quite some time. After many years and much work we have become close again, as his only child I'm so happy with that. I never thought the day would come when he'd love a girlfriend of mine, but we're there now and it's great. Mum on the other hand was always accepting and encouraging. She's the best.

I love being a lesbian, to feel part of our community and I want the hate to stop. This is worth it if one person changes how they view me, a feminist dyke that is a good person that happens to love a woman rather than a man."

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ROHAN & DAVID

"We met on New Years Eve back in 2010. A single kiss blossomed into a wonderful, easy-going relationship based on mutual respect, trust and acceptance of each other’s quirks. While we've endured challenges as all couples do, these have strengthened our bond and taught us the benefit of good communication. We look forward to finally getting married one day!"

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ANTHONY

"I'm one of the lucky ones. I am a husband to a kind and gorgeous man. I am a father to a beautiful daughter. Friends and family are the most important things to me. I am proud to be me and bring all of myself to every situation.

"Music is my passion. I have a penchant for double denim and cowboy boots. I'm almost always smiling. I love to laugh. I love to dance. I am a vehement supporter of carbs. And I make a mean Negroni!"

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