100 Women We Love: Class of 2017

Every June, GO compiles a select list of talented tastemakers, influencers and all-around inspirational women who are making their mark on the LGBT community and on the world at large.

Yunique A. Saafir

Photo courtesy Yunique Saafir

“The most rewarding aspect of my work is discovering myself through the journey of creating mediums that represent me,” says photographer Yunique A. Saafir. A self-described queer, black femme, Saafir is dedicated to making sure others like her are able to see themselves because she knows how important visibility can be to self-image. “We can’t be validated by anyone but ourselves,” she says. “My validation … does not lie in the validation of society, or anyone around me. I see myself as a worthy vessel and try hard every day to see my value for being.” Saafir’s work “explores personal experiences with mental health and the idea that depression can illuminate the self and spark clarity,” aiming to bring “power [to] ambiguity and darkness, an unappreciated ability to run directly into the void, to become undone, and to rebuild again.” Her latest series, “My Body: Not for Consumption” is on display at the Dixon Place Theater as part of the Annual Hot Festival on July 12, and speaks to the idea that “sedative feelings can bring healing and that vulnerability is sacred.” “A place of enlightenment can actually look strange for us of the LGBTTQQIAAP community,” she says. “It is important to create your own merit with that, because you deserve it.” —TB

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