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Wish it Was a Coming Out
by Melissa Ianniello


I am 29 years old, I am a lesbian, and I did not succeed in talking to my grandparents about me—about the real me. Wish it Was a Coming Out originates and starts there—from a suffering lie that lasted for years. This work is an ongoing long-term project which investigates the double taboo related to homosexuality and old age in today’s Italy. As an indirect tribute to my grandparents, I began exploring the life experiences of people who were similar to them in terms of age, but similar to me in terms of sexual orientation, and who wanted to share their own personal stories with me. That is why I chose a group of gays and lesbians between the age of 60 and 90 years old. I captured their smiles, worries, thoughts, love, and desires, which are rarely given a voice. These people were photographed as couples or alone, in their own homes, in scenes of true intimacy. This work talks about the desire to expose oneself fully without negating any part of one’s identity. The words “coming out” refer to the intergenerational sharing of one’s own experiences, life, and whole self.