A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending part of an afternoon with Sameer Jha for the @nytimes.
Sameer was born male, considers himself queer but doesn’t identify with only one gender. He doesn’t mind the pronoun, “he.” He’s still figuring it out. Sameer was born to immigrants to America that have dedicated their entire lives to making him feel safe and loved and heard. As a new father I was keen to get his advice on raising a child without pushing my biases onto them. “My parents asked questions instead of making assumptions, and through educating them I found a passion for spreading awareness and combating misconceptions, especially in my South Asian community,” he told me. In addition to having started a non-profit called The Empathy Alliance, which “works with students and educators to help make schools safer and more welcoming for LGBTQ+ students,” Sameer is interested in pursuing a career as a professor of linguistics. At a time when our country is being led by small-minded bigots pushing racist, hateful, fear-mongering policies that are making a mockery of everything decent and good about this country and jeopardizing the foundation of what made our democracy a safe haven for the persecuted, people like Sameer, and his parents, are a huge breath of fresh air. Big thanks to Mr. Nabers for this opportunity and to Sameer and his parents for their generosity and kindness. And to Sameer’s friends for letting a New York Times photographer crash part of his 17th birthday party. #lgbtq #nytimes #immigration #portrait #photojournalism