Beyond the Fabulous

Getting to know the LGBTQ+ community

“Dear,” “Darlin’,” “Girlfriend,” “Gorgeous,”…. I’ve been called many names in my twenty years of covering the LGBTQ+ community. The names, themselves, always make me smile and remind me of good friends and individuals who care enough about me to try to make me smile, especially on days when smiling doesn’t come easy.

  • In NYC at MNN photographing actor and LGBTQ activist Ron B in her dressing room. #bts photography by Alina Oswald.
  • LGBTQ actvitist Ron B's show performing at MNN during her show, No Boundaries Up Close and Personal. #bts ©Alina Oswald
  • Rev. Yolanda photographed in NYC’s Washington Square Park, for A&U Magazine—America’s AIDS Magazine. ©Alina Oswald.
  • LGBTQ and HIV activist Carlos Idibouo. © Alina Oswald.
  • Author Hans M. Hirschi © Alina Oswald.
  • Actor Steve Hayes photographed for A&U Magazine--America's AIDS Magazine. ©Alina Oswald
  • Omar Garcia. Photographed for A&U Magazine by Alina Oswald.
  • "Friends Will Be Friends" group shot by yet another friend at the closing ceremony of #BrakingAIDSRide2018 in NYC.

People would often ask me why I’m so much into the LGBTQ+ community. Truth is that I’ve always felt at ease when around LGBTQ+ individuals and felt like I could be myself around them. Why that is? I’m not quite sure, and I’m also not the only one to feel that way. To best explain it, here’s an excerpt from Make a Difference, my July 2019 A&U Magazine cover story with Victoria Noe, activist and author of Fag Hags, Divas and Moms. In the excerpt I write, in part from personal experience, about women the author calls “fag hags” (a term I only became aware of upon reading Noe’s book) and their strong friendships with the gay community:

With Terry Roberts and award-winning photographer Kurt Weston at the opening of REMEMBER: An AIDS Retrospective

“Truth is that women in this particular category may live in happy romantic relationships of their own, but when it comes to friendship, they are drawn to the gay community. This kind of friendship might be difficult to explain, but, I believe, it has to do with a feeling of acceptance (flaws and all), of belonging. Perhaps there’s also a level of mutual understanding—of common histories, struggles—that underlines this kind of friendship. Personally, I’ve always found a safe place in my own friendships with gay men, a ‘home’ where I can be myself, because gay friends don’t judge, they listen and comfort, brighten the darkest and gloomiest of days, and always, always prove themselves friends in need, indeed.”

With artist Vladimir Rios and photographer Lester Blum at the opening of La Vie Galerie, LLC.

And, for me, it’s not only individuals from the gay community, but also from the entire LGBTQ+ community. Over the past twenty years I’ve discovered amazing friendships in this community. I’ve found inspiration, mentorship, guidance, patience, as well as ears to hear me out, and shoulders to cry on. This is my experience, and that’s why I feel the way that I feel about the LGBTQ+ community.

No bouquet, no problem. Throw the photographer! Group wedding shot with the wedding photographer.

These Covid days I find myself missing my friends. We still stay in touch, mostly virtually and by phone, but it’s been a dark, depressing, tough and rough year in so many ways, for so many of us. I do miss getting together for crazy photo shoots and experimenting with wild outfits, lighting, and poses…or just chatting for hours over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, listening to them sharing their stories of resilience or talking about art and activism, and hope.

I hope this finds you well and safe. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Alina Oswald

2 thoughts

  1. Alina You are wonderful.

    You so expressed my feelings on the gay community. I would like to add that I find them to have fabulous personalities, creativity, intelligence and a wonderful sense of humor. Most people in the world can gain a better sense of themselves, if they could share these traits.

    Love you xxo glo

    >

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    1. Thank you so much, Gloria! Omg, you are amazing! (but I knew that already :-)) Completely agree and thanks for pointing it out. Absolutely! I’ve learned a lot from the community, myself, and I’m honored and humbled that they named me “adopted member of the community.” I think the sense of humor is really important, especially nowadays. Thank you again and hope all is well. Miss you and hope we’ll all be able to get together sooner rather than later. I really do miss that. Lots of love and many hugs! xoxoxo

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