QUEER VOICES

These Beautiful Photos Highlight The Diversity Of The Lesbian Community

"A lesbian can look any way, be any nationality, race and believe any religion she pleases."

An important and compelling project from Colorado-based photographer Rachael Zimmerman is bringing together lesbian-identifying women from different walks of life in order to demonstrate the vast diversity of the lesbian community.

“Inside The Black Triangle” draws its name from the symbol people demonstrating asocial or atypical behavior were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps ― including lesbians. Zimmerman felt that this project is necessary to contribute to a conversation surrounding “gender hierarchy” in the lesbian community and highlight the variety and diverse array of experiences among lesbian women.

“I hope that the audience can see that a lesbian can look any way, be any nationality, race and believe any religion she pleases,” Zimmerman told HuffPost. “It’s time to break away from stereotypes and start treating each other equally. We must set positive examples for society. It’s truly remarkable how far the community has come to be accepted. The fight is not over; it’s critical to be visible and proud.”

After photographing and interviewing 100 women, Zimmerman plans to turn “Inside The Black Triangle” into a coffee table book. Head here for more information on the project, and check out some of the women who’ve already been featured in the series below.

  • Adriana
    "'You we were not born to be gay,' my Brazilian family insisted. 'There is no way you are a lesbian' men continue to insist.
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    "'You we were not born to be gay,' my Brazilian family insisted. 'There is no way you are a lesbian' men continue to insist. Why? Because I don't look like one? Sexuality is not a function of your appearance or how you present. It's internal. 'Lesbian' has many faces and yet media and society depict only a few of them, pervading the stigma. My face is one of them. Deal with it."
  • Alex
    "It didn't hit me that I was different until 6th grade. I met a beautiful, unforgettable girl on the bus and the undeniable c
    Rachael Zimmerman Photograhy
    "It didn't hit me that I was different until 6th grade. I met a beautiful, unforgettable girl on the bus and the undeniable connection we made scared the shit out of me. It broke me when she died; I slept with her jacket on for months. For a while after that I found myself stuck in a place of confusion. I mean, I didn't just have feelings aimed toward girls. I loved Justin Timberlake and thought the boy that neighbored my seat in class was hot. What did all of these mixed emotions mean? I thought I hid it well but my mom was the first to call me on it. She gave me assurance that it was okay to be myself sexually; it was never her I was worried about, though, it was strictly society."
  • Ali
    "I entered Active Duty in 2012 and realized it was not as different of a workplace as I had imagined. To this day I have not
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    "I entered Active Duty in 2012 and realized it was not as different of a workplace as I had imagined. To this day I have not faced any adversity about my sexual orientation. Those who have been in the service longer always say 'it’s a new Air Force' because of the changes that have taken place, and I am proud to be in the progressive side of this 'new Air Force.' That being said, I cannot say if I would have the same experience if I were not feminine, or if I were trans. However, I have faith that this progressive 'new Air Force' and military will create a culture where no one in the LGBTQIA family has to face adversity."
  • Cheryl Maas
    “The Olympics in Sochi was an interesting experience. From the start I had journalists asking me if I would go and if I
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    “The Olympics in Sochi was an interesting experience. From the start I had journalists asking me if I would go and if I would feel safe there. I told them that I wasn’t scared and that I would go there to just show my snowboarding. Boycotting didn’t feel like a good idea to me as I was thinking if I stayed away because I’m gay, it would satisfy the wrong people. I was hoping to do really well there as that would give me a platform to speak up. But sadly my riding didn’t go the way I wanted and failed to achieve my goal, but I still took the small opportunity that I had to show a rainbow on Global TV. It was very controversial and sparked problems. Although it was received very well in the LGBT community, so it was all worth it! I’m proud I was the first one to take a little action at the Sochi Olympics.”
  • Claudia
    "After my first experience with a girl my life changed, both good and bad. Being a lesbian is not easy, especially when socie
    Rachael Zimmerman Photograph
    "After my first experience with a girl my life changed, both good and bad. Being a lesbian is not easy, especially when society wants you to be a hell of a girl, very feminine, and to act like one. I am a girly girl and I also like girls a lot. But what if I want to be a little masculine from time to time? Or what if I just want to act the way I feel comfortable? It shouldn’t be an issue. So just be yourself, don’t worry about the rest. Keep doing what you’re doing. Continue giving love to the world, because that’s what is lacking the most these days. Whether you’re gay, or not, just embrace yourself the way you are... you will find happiness, I promise."
  • Courtney
    “I struggle with the stigmas that come with being a lesbian in society. I’m black, abnormally larger than most wo
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    “I struggle with the stigmas that come with being a lesbian in society. I’m black, abnormally larger than most women, I have body image issues, depression, anxiety, OCD. Here’s what they don’t tell you about mental illness: for me I looked completely fine, I did well in high school. But they were worst years. The first time I cut myself I felt a release, it came with this high, and for once and in the moment the thoughts in my head and the pain was gone. Years to come cutting turned into drugs, sex, and alcohol. As I got older some of that self hatred came from being gay. I’ve choked back a lot of tears in public before. I’ve heard people talking about me in public, and it knocks you down a little especially when I'm misgendered. It’s even made my anxiety worse. I hate going out in public by myself to the point I will not leave without headphones or sunglasses. The LGBTQ community has grown, but I seem to always be the only lesbian in the crowd.”
  • Jordan Bam
    "It’s important as a community to support each other and avoid competing. It doesn’t have to be bros against bros
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    "It’s important as a community to support each other and avoid competing. It doesn’t have to be bros against bros or lipsticks against lipsticks. We don’t need to bash each other, for example when bros wear make up or express their feminine side while leaving their stereotypical box they should be supported instead of put down."
  • Natasha
    “...As I continually grow and mature I've also realized the several different aspects of my personality. There are days
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    “...As I continually grow and mature I've also realized the several different aspects of my personality. There are days when I feel like being the upmost feminine woman to ever exist, and there are other days when I feel like throwing on some sweats, a fresh pair of kicks, and buzzing my hair right off. I transition between the two effortlessly, which has been a new thing for me... “
  • Sadé
    "I came out when I was 13 and my relationship with my family changed drastically. The emotional, physical, and mental abuse w
    Rachael Zimmerman Photography
    "I came out when I was 13 and my relationship with my family changed drastically. The emotional, physical, and mental abuse was enough to put me into a spiraling depression. I moved far away to a state where I didn’t know anyone or anything, all to escape what I felt was a nightmare. Food and suicidal thoughts were the ways that I coped with everything surrounding me. At my heaviest I reached 280 pounds. But even through all of this, I came out triumphant. I lost the weight, became a Go Go dancer and starting DJ’ing at venues, which helped me build my confidence. I am happy, and free to be the best person I can be."
CONVERSATIONS