Meistä / About Us photography project, 2021
In 2021 was 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in Finland. Over the past 50 years, LGBTIQA+ people have paved the way for themselves to be seen. Yet for many of them, discrimination is a daily reality and living openly as themselves may still not be possible. There is a strong assumption in Finnish society that LGBTIQA+ people are white. At times it is even claimed that refugees, Muslims and other people belonging to an ethnic or religious minority would pose a threat to the rights of gender and sexual minorities in Finland.
QBIPOC people live, study and work in Finland. They have the right to be heard and be visible and the right to equality in our society. The purpose of this exhibition is to empower them, promote their human rights and raise awareness among the general population of the diversity within the LGBTIQA+ community. In this exhibition, the models in the photographs claim space in society that belongs to them as well.
According to studies, discrimination, racism and hate reduce a quality of life . Discrimination is consuming and particularly harmful to people who belong to two or more minorities. Such multi-layered discrimination may be more common than we think as it is often not recognized. A person who belongs to both a gender and sexual minority, and an ethnic or religious minority, is therefore at a higher risk of multiple discrimination.
This project promotes the importance of an inter sectional approach to anti-racism and to work which promotes good relations between population groups. It challenges both ethnic and LGBTIQA+ minorities to reflect on diversity within their communities. It also encourage the wider public to discuss discrimination against minorities and be aware of the effects of discrimination for those who experience it.
The photographs in the exhibition are intended to encourage people who belong to an ethnic or religious minority who also belong to a sexual or gender minority. They’re not alone with their stories. These images aim to show people as they want to be seen; enable them to express their true feelings and, at the same time, reinforce the story that diversity is a factor that unites humanity.
Meistä / About Us is the result of a joint project by Seta, Etno of Southern Finland, the Helsinki Pride Community and the City of Helsinki, in cooperation with Cultural Centre Caisa and Stoa. Since 2021 it was shown on many exhibitions all over Finland and abroad.
The project has received financial support from the Ministry of Justice of Finland.
2021 - Stop Hatred Festival, Caisa - Helsinki, Finland
2021 - Helsinki Pride Week, Helsinki City Hall - Helsinki, Finland
2021 - Oulu Pride Week - Oulu, Finland
2021 - Jyväskylä Pride, Gloria - Jyväskylä, Finland
2021 - The Finnish Labor Museum Werstas - Tampere, Finland
2021 - Stoa - Helsinki, Finland
2022 - Dokfoto Center - Tallinn, Estonia
2022 - Oulu Loves Me, Valve - Oulu, Finland
2022 - Kaukametsä Centre - Kajaani, Finland
2022 - Vaasa Pride - Vaasa, Finland
2022 - Equality Days with THL - Helsinki, Finland
2022 - Festheart, LGBT+ Film Festival - Rakvere, Estonia
2023 - Brinkkala Gallery - Turku, Finland
Photos courtesy of Juhan Kuus Documentary Photography Centre