A House is Not A Home

Laila Annmarie Stevens

2019 - Ongoing

New York City, New York, United States

“A House is Not Home” is a photo documentary project that discovers the livelihoods of New York’s L.G.B.T.Q.+ youth, their communities, and unique definitions of home. Today, L.G.B.T.Q. youth of color, especially Black youth, face a greater risk of homelessness and incarceration. By giving the power to the individual(s) to choose a location where they thrive despite increased opposition, I invite the viewer to reimagine tradition and envision a safe space.

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  • "We think of Alley Pond Park as our home, Amanda and I met almost 8 months ago. For our 6 months together, we chose to have a picnic at Alley Pond Park. We ate sandwiches, sat in the sun and talked. However had to end as quickly as it started because it began pouring rain. It was like something out of The Notebook." Amanda Chang, 20 (She/They) Queens Village, NY and Aaliyah Garcia, 20 (She/They) East Harlem, NY

  • “I was in a program at the Museum of Modern Art, it was an open art space geared towards queer teens. It was cool to be there with a bunch of other kids like me and adults too.” Maya Jacobs, 20 (She/Her) - Queens, NY

  • Nikki Rathi, 20 (She/Her) and Caera Strainchamps, 20 (She/Her) - Astoria, Queens, NY.

  • "This space, Union Square, has been my home for years now. I feel at peace in this environment whether it's the chess players on the southern steps or the cyphers that happen here every friday night, I feel surrounded by love and by people who are authentically themselves. I find the most creative and talented people in this park. Inspiring me to pursue my own forms of creativity and my own passions. This place has embraced me with open arms whether it's a long day at school or work, I feel alive here. I also have so many memories with my loved ones here, birthday parties, picnics, just sitting down and listening to the sounds of NYC + being grounded in this moment. This park reminds me to be grateful for the present and every moment.” - Andrea Gonzalez, 20 (She/They), Staten Island, NY

  • “For a long time we weren’t really able to see each other in most places. But being able to drive around and have that sort of autonomy was one of the biggest and first allowances we got. So we went everywhere, we went on little road trips…” Diana E. Sinclair, 18 (She/They), Jesse E. Soleil, 20 (They/Them) - Hokoben, NJ

  • “This park was a space I came to the with my friends to really clear our minds after school. They were all Queer and really accepting. This feels like home to me and reminds me of them.” Jasmyn, 20 (She/Her) - Queens, NY

  • Sam, 20 and Leyah, 19 stand in front of their favorite restaurant in Downtown Manhattan, Ms. Lily's. A couple since high school they moved to New York together during the winter of 2020.

  • "Young's Beauty Supply Store on Broadway in Brooklyn is like home to me, it's my regular spot. In general, beauty supply stores have been a consistent safe space for me to go to where I feel secure in my identity as a black queer woman." Kendra Shiloh, 21 (She/They) Brooklyn, NY

  • “When we first met Jada lived in Crown heights. Aaliyah would come from Canarsie to stay with me. After a year of dating, we decided we wanted to make a home together in the neighborhood where it all started. We appreciated the accessibility we have to explore NY and do it together.” - Jada Young (They/Them) 22, Aaliyah Fairweather (They/Them) 22 - Crown Heights, NY

  • Mia Sanfilippo, 20 (She/Her) - Ridgewood, Queens, NY

  • "My parents are both in my life, and I love them and I know they love them and I don’t think they’d take me being bi well.” Kenya Dawkins, 20 (She/Her) - Queens, NY

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