Co-Founder | Queer the Lens
by Mara Serdans
Amy Scott on Being a Change-Maker for LGBTQIA+ Creatives Behind the Lens
Amy Scott, commercial photographer and co-founder of Queer the Lens is on a mission. We recently caught up with Amy to learn more about how they intend to empower the LGBTQIA+ community by establishing an inclusive space to voice their needs, create connections, and share resources.
“Queer the Lens has grown out of the need to find a way to connect with other queer folks in our community. When I was considering coming out professionally last year, I was reaching out and trying to find other folks to have that conversation, and it was really hard to find people in production who are out openly – it was just by word of mouth. There really wasn’t a way to connect. It was like a game of telephone,” says Amy.
With no platform to meet those needs or an established way for them to self-identify, it was the perfect time to start this important conversation. So, Amy came up with the idea of a quick 5-minute survey to have the introduction and begin a conversation because they had no sense of where people were located, how they identify, and what their experiences were.
Everyone has different experiences based on where they are and how they identify so it was important to capture this information to understand the needs of the community and identify the tools and support they need to succeed.
“We also had to be more than a couple people doing a survey. We had to have the ability to create a platform to begin these connections and to advocate for the changes that we need to address,” says Amy.
Queer the Lens is still learning about who they are as an organization and this survey aims to help them further define their platform and how they’re looking to grow. Much of it depends on where the specific needs are but its primary objective is to connect, support, and empower queer creators who are part of production - from art directors to stylists and PAs. “We’ll find the many ways that it expresses itself through our bandwidth and ability and people’s needs and interests,” adds Amy.
The survey is ongoing and the team is excited to see what they gather from these findings, what they grow into, and how they can serve this community.
The team has discovered two key takeaways thus far - people really want to self-identify for the unique lens they bring to a project and they also want to be able to connect and support one another.
“We want to work together to create safe environments simply through connecting in community or advising, encouraging, and educating folks and organizations within the industry to help us move forward,” says Amy.
Based on the current stats, about 20-30% people who took the survey and identify as queer don’t feel completely safe on set or feel unsure of how open they can be about their identity.
It’s a high percentage for a largely invisible community and Queer the Lens wants to empower queer members and provide the larger community with tools on how to support them. “We need to integrate these methods of support into our daily work so that we’re creating space for people to feel safe,” says Amy.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just want to meet the needs that are not currently being met for queer folks in the industry. There are many incredible organizations that are meeting some of these creatives other needs, for example people who identify as queer are also black, POC, women – and there are organizations that are helping provide support for some of the obstacles they face because of their other identities,” adds Amy.
And we know the advertising industry has been missing out on the power of diversity. If we’re not actively looking around to see what identities are not being represented on set or providing the necessary support for everyone to feel safe, we’re doing everyone a disservice.
Since the survey began, Queer the Lens has received a great deal of support and visibility, and Amy has participated in interviews to help spread the word. Recently, Amy and fellow co-founder Kate Warren partnered with the APA to moderate a conversation highlighting the work and perspectives of photographers from the LGBTQIA+ community. They also participated in an event with The Luupe to further share their mission for Queer the Lens.
We look forward to learning more about how Queer the Lens aims to shed light on the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and we encourage you to take five minutes out of your day to complete this important survey for change.