Owning the Game

Owning the Game – Intersectional self-representation in the Roma LGBTQ+ communities is a photo exhibition that brought together Roma LGBTQ+ individuals as a community to create something that can represent us better.

In this project, we can see that the people are tired of being in the shadows or being seen as “bad” people. Owning the game stands for itself, it means that I can do whatever I want to do without feeling guilty or scared for myself. It gives other people the courage to stand out and be themselves. It is a strong project with a strong message and if you are interested in seeing more of the project, you can click here: https://www.facebook.com/romalgbtq

The Roma LGBTQ+ community exhibition focuses on visual narrative change, intending to bring material from the members of the intersection in which the characters are beautiful, strong and with this dignified portrayal can help Roma LGBTQ + people who have not participated in this project.

The aim of the photo series was for members of the Roma community to create photographic and video content about themselves – along with poems and other writings – that portray them with dignity. “I feel we need such visual materials that when a young Roma LGBTQ person sees them in a magazine or online, they can see that there are people in the Roma community who are setting a positive example and this can make it easier to process their own situation. It is a motivating and empowering project.”

Social gender, gender identity, and gender self-expression were unavoidable themes, and they are strongly reflected in both visuality and text.

The project is by Joci Marton, he is active on social media, talking about Roma issues and LGBT problems. He is open about it, and he is not afraid to tell what he thinks. Doesn’t matter if it’s against the right side Hungarian politicians which are extremely homophobic and racist, but also against any phobia that is connected to Roma or LGBTQI people. 

The visual representation of Roma people, according to Joci, is quite problematic: “When we are not representing ourselves, it is not up to us to decide how people portray us. When writing about Roma, they usually use photos where, for example, you see a Roma person standing in front of a crumbling house, or an especially dirty gas stove. There’s always a background that greatly controls the whole narrative.” That is why the goal of the project was to break the “tradition” of lamentation and victimization, and instead show proud, strong and positive people – in a way we have not seen the Roma and LGBTQ people so far.