pigmented archival inkjet print; each 16×24″

“The new generation of LGBTQ+ Mormons in Utah is changing the course of its historic struggle between their sexual identity and the conflicts with their religious beliefs, by publicly acting on their sexuality while some of them still practice their faith. Despite the Church’s strict teachings, they are determined in their pursuit of love, each taking their own path by either enduring through the scrutiny of their surroundings or taking a step away from the Church. Generally, the social framework of the LDS Church has resulted in a path of dilemmas and self-doubt for many people looking to make the hard decision whether or not to act on their desires. My work aims to take an objective look at some of those paths taken and the struggles that are endured by many of the brave millennials that are persistent in their quest for self-discovery and affirmation. Despite many stories of struggles and judgment from their communities, this openness and determination have resulted in growing support from people and institutions across Utah.”

ARTIST BIO: Fazilat Soukhakian is an Iranian artist, photographer and scholar. She received her BFA in Photography from the University of Teheran, in Iran, and her MFA, and Ph.D in Architectural History and Visual Studies from the the University of Cincinnati DAAP. Fazilat transitioned into the world of academics, complementing her art practice, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University. She considers herself a visual storyteller who observes and records her concerns regarding social and political issues as a means for social change and justice. Her work reflects on contemporary issues concerning gender inequality, gender segregation, and the loss of national identity. Her photography projects have been shown throughout national and international exhibitions and she has received many awards and recognition.