We finally live in a pop culture universe that's starting to embrace the idea that sexuality is a spectrum, rather than two poles. Beyond small screens and short sound bites, even the "real world" has moved toward equality and acceptance, with same-sex marriage legalized across the States. But, not everyone in the queer population wants to assimilate into the culture at large. Especially in New York, a historical haven for distinction and difference, there are plenty of self-proclaimed "radical queers" who continue to challenge the status quo.
New York-based photographer Michael Bailey-Gates, whose work has been featured in Vogue and Bloomberg, set out to showcase the exuberance of this community. First published in i-D (and shared now with new photos), Bailey-Gates' series is a tribute to what he calls a collective desire to go “against the grain, doing what you think is right.”
As Bailey-Gates explains, there is no one form of “radical queerness.” Some people pioneer new forms of political activism. Some host underground queer parties. Mars Hobrecker and Leah James plan complex performances. Others just get up, get dressed, and walk down the street in clothes that declare themselves to the world. After all, visibility can be the boldest move of all.
Ahead, we talk to Bailey-Gates about his work, his community, and what radical queerness means to him.