Photographer, videographer, and educator Mia Nakano collaborated with Hyphen Magazine to create “The Visibility Project,” featuring images, stories, and histories of Queer Asian American Women and Transgender Communities.
Hyphen is a nonprofit news and culture magazine that tells stories of Asian America. Conceived in 2002 by Bay Area journalists, Hyphen showcases people outside of the boundaries of Asian American stereotypes. This project recognizes that while lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) have been active in multiple communities and capacities, the queer part of their identity frequently goes unmentioned or unrecognized.
Nakano created a new LGBTQ online section at hyphenmagazine.com that featured regular LGBTQ API contributors. She also took two mini-tours of the South and Midwest, creating a community snapshot of their LGBTQ API communities. As she traveled, she worked closely with Hyphen’s editors to produce and publish videos, post photos, blog, and create multilingual translations of interviews to post on Hyphen’s Website.
In the project’s culmination, Nakano and Hyphen created a photo exhibition that has been exhibited at Ohio State University, the Leeway Foundation in Philadelphia, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center‘s Asian-Latino Festival in 2013. Nakano also worked with API Equality Northern California to develop a curriculum using Hyphen’s Website as assignment resources.
Mia Nakano’s work has contributed to such media outlets as Colorlines, the Kathmandu Post, and Democracy Now!