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Fear And Loving

Brooklynn T. Kascel | United States

Driving into a summer storm. Manchester, Iowa. 2018

Since 2017, I have photographed my queer peers in my home state of Iowa and the greater midwestern region in my ongoing series, Fear And Loving. By combining autobiographical documentary and conceptual imagery, I chronicle interpersonal queer exchanges fastened within the midwestern landscape - a place of distinct beauty, a place I love, but somewhere that is not always welcoming to all.

Using eastern Iowa as the main backdrop, these black-and-white photographs synchronously celebrate this unassuming region and recognize the harmful rhetoric toward LGBTQIA2+ people that is speckled within its geography.

From midnight house parties and dark bars in Iowa to sparkling clubs in Chicago, Fear And Loving depicts the places where we find each other to navigate the political and cultural barriers to expression and intimacy as they relate to queerness, transness and homosexual relationships. In parts of the U.S. that have not experienced cultural awakenings more common in metropolitan areas, this imagery expresses the urgency for open dialogues in rural and suburban spaces about gender identity, sexual fluidity, and de-stigmatizing homosexuality as a phase.

Across the U.S., hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced during legislative sessions since I began this work in 2017. These measures permit religiously-motivated discrimination, prohibit gender-affirming care for transgender youth, restrict transgender girls and women from participating in school sponsored sports and segregate restrooms by an individual's sex assigned at birth.

In 2022 alone, 28 states have introduced discriminatory legislation - nine of which are located in the Midwest. An addtional eight states have signed these types of bills into law, including two states from the same region, South Dakota and my home state of Iowa.

Fear And Loving condemns the deep-rooted anti-LGBTQIA2+ narrative and honors the political act of being queer and trans in America. 

Brooklynn T. Kascel


Email : bkascel@gmail.com

Instagram : @brooklynn.kascel

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