Franzelly Garcia is a 21-year-old photographer based out of Brownsville, Texas. In one of her latest photo shoots, Franzelly gets personal by putting herself in front of the camera to make a stand against LGBTQ discrimination and the violence it breeds.
“I am many things and one of those things is being a lesbian,” Franzelly posted on Facebook with the photo shoot. “I don’t ask anyone to believe in what I do, but I do ask for respect.
The series show Franzelly with her face in rainbow colors struggling as someone has their arm around her neck, which the viewer can interpret as anti-LGBTQ hate. In the end, the photos show Franzelly breaking free from that hate.
Dani: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do?
Franzelly: I am many things and one of those things is being a lesbian. I don’t ask anyone to believe in what I do, but I do ask for respect. Respect, like the one I give to everyone every day. I am from South Texas, specifically from Brownsville, and I really enjoy this place even if it doesn’t have as many attractions as it could. It’s been four months since I quit my job and built a successful photography business. Other than going to college for Computer Science and working on my business, I am devoted to doing a bit more for someone in need or even a whole community if necessary.
D: Why did you decide to do this LGBTQ photo shoot?
F: High-End makeup artist, Cesar Villarreal, and I had communicated mutually that with our artistic ability we could alter someone’s reality by shifting perspectives around. To say no to repression and discrimination no matter what side you might be in right now, and start living consciously and lovingly.
D: How can projects like this one change the community?
F: I don’t expect it to change RGV, and that’s okay. As long as I know that Cesar and I change at least one life by liberating them from fear and empowering them to have a say in their life, we are beyond delighted!
D: What changes would you like to see in the Rio Grande Valley or Brownsville community when it comes to LGBTQ inclusivity?
F: Empathy. That is absolutely all I would like for RGV to obtain. Empathy will not only teach you to respect others but also understand where they are coming from and I think if any outsider would comprehend the burden of being ashamed for something that is clearly not your decision, all discrimination would stop. In my 21 years of life, I have never asked anyone including my parents to believe that being homosexual is okay. However, I do ask for mutual respect to be able to express myself around them and hence for them to get to know me a little better.
D: What message would you give to other LGBTQ individuals in the Rio Grande Valley who share your vision?
F: Just be yourself and if anyone doesn’t agree with it, that’s fine. Don’t fight it, just embrace the hate, but don’t let it consume you, and forgive other for the lack of comprehension.Check out Franzelly’s work on Facebook.
Models: Franzelly Garcia, Alfonso Moya
Make-up artist: Cesar A. Villarreal
Photographer: Franzelly Garcia