“Faces and Phases,” a new exhibit by award-winning South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi, features the country’s lesbian and transgender population in an effort to influence South African policy regarding the LGBT community.

She told Huff Post Gay Voices: “The message that I wanted to share with the people is that you can’t change the laws without changing the image. You need to change the image in order to educate people. My work instills visual activism. It’s one thing to theorize about LGBT rights, but it something to visualize the people that you are talking about.”

Muholi believes the exhibit will help communicate her perspective on LGBT politics in a way that’s easy for people to digest and understand: “Those pictures are basically about sharing my view with the people. Also, to simplify the sexual politics and topic for general audiences because when you think LGBT politics there is too much complexity. From the educational system to historical books that are sitting in some departments of universities. The language and theories are just too complicated for any ordinary person who might not have higher education. Photographs make life easier for people to understand regardless of the language.”

She also makes a point to include the transgender community, saying: “We are now at a period in our time where we see the images of the trans movement. This is before we even take care of the queer politics or queer element. Now as lesbians and gay people, we need to make sure that we fight that war with trans people.”

Her visual activism includes “timeless” black and white photos of beautiful lesbian and transgender subjects. The stunning shots are currently on display at New York City’s Yancey Richardson Gallery until April 6.


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  • Allie

    This is cool. I love seeing young queer people of color.

    • Fantastico


  • kayla

    GOD CREATED MAN AND WOMAN…..and that is all that he intended for. He makes no mistakes

    • Allie

      God made people, with that being said I think you’re right he doesn’t make mistakes, he test people, and he has a plan, who are you to say what that is?

    • “…..and that is all that he intended for”

      you KNOW what GOD intends?

    • kayla

      He intended for a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That I do know from the B.I.B.L.E.. In this day and age we have it a backwards, and as a result we and generations after us will have to suffer for our mistakes.

    • why then did GOD create gay people?

    • kayla

      James……God didn’t create gay people. No one is born gay it is a choice. If God had created gay people then he wouldn’t have made homosexuality a sin in the first place. Now I am not saying I hate gays, I treat them with the respect that I would treat any other human being, but I do let them know that God loves them but their lifestyle is a sin in his eyes.

    • sexual orientation is NOT a choice.

  • Kay

    This is really a powerful statement. With lots of men trying to “rape,” women straight and the attacks on the LGBT community this is a very nice, poignant piece. Love it.

  • Bangel

    Please start to write articles that affect and interest ALL readers of Clutch. The proportion of LGBT is greater than the proportion of heterosexual relationship and issue articles. Last I check the vast majority of the WORLD population was hetersexual. Please don’t forget this fact!!!!