"iO Tillett Wright: Fifty Shades of Gay" Ted Talk

February 11, 2013 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Artist iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LBGTQ spectrum and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Most people, it turns out, consider themselves to exist in the gray areas of sexuality, not 100% gay or straight. Which presents a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line?





Artist iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LBGTQ spectrum and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Most people, it turns out, consider themselves to exist in the gray areas of sexuality, not 100% gay or straight. Which presents a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line?

As a child actor, iO Tillett Wright turned her shoes around in the bathroom stall so that people would think she was a boy. As a teenager, she fell in love with both women and men. Her life in the grey areas of gender and sexuality deeply inform her work as an artist.

iO Tillett Wright thanks her parents for not asking her to define herself as a child. Her experience of growing up without having check boxes like “female,” “male,” “gay” or straight” thoroughly infuses her art.

iO’s photography can be seen regularly in two features in The New York Times: Notes from the Underground and The Lowdown. She is also the creator of Self Evident Truths—an ongoing project to document the wide variety of experiences in LGBTQ America. So far, she has photographed about 2,000 people for the project. Her goal: 10,000 portraits and a nationwide rethinking of discriminatory laws.

iO had her first solo show at Fuse gallery in New York City in 2010, and exhibited her latest work at The Hole Gallery in early summer of 2012. She has published three books of photographs; Lose My Number, KISSER, and Look Ma’, No Hands. She has directed several music videos, and spent nineteen years acting in films.

All of these are the kinds of people that Don Redman and Clay Yarborough and Robin Lumb don't feel should have the same status and rights as themselves.