Breaking Barriers

BreakingBarriers_MarkSTUDNER

Photographer Mark Studner seeks to
create a support group for LGBTQ
individuals with disabilities in Los Angeles.

BY ORLY LYONNE

Mark Studner knows a thing or two about overcoming life’s obstacles. Born with cerebral palsy, but determined to triumph, Studner has been a professional photographer for over twenty years. “I picked up my first camera at the age of nine years old, when I was attending a school for persons with disabilities,” revealed the LA-based photographer in a recent interview with THE FIGHT. “It was just something I knew I would be doing for the rest of my life.”

Well known for his expert quality of work, with his photos gracing the covers of numerous gay magazines over the years, Studner is now embarking on a new project, slightly closer to his heart.

After taking part—for the past year—in a support group at the Long Beach Gay Center for LGBTQ individuals with special needs—Studner is determined to create a similar group in Los Angeles.

“I still attend the group at the Long Beach Center, however—as there is a large community of people with disabilities in Los Angeles—I am seeking to create a group in the LA area.”

“The gay community can be very cold to folks with disabilities… however once they get to know us as people—those walls slowly break down,” reveals Studner.

“I would like to introduce the disability community to the gay community at large. I want this support group to be a place where we can embrace our similarities, get to know each other, and see that we are really not that different.”

“It is important,” explains Studner, “to have a support system exclusively for those in the LGBTQ community with disabilities. I want to encourage members of my community to be strong enough to advocate for ourselves and to pass it forward.”

Email Mark Studner at: markstudnerphoto@earthlink.net if you would like to be a part of the group, or help organize it.