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32 Fearless Photos Of Openly Gay Student Athletes

For nine years, celebrated photographer, Jeff Sheng, went around the U.S. to capture over 150 images of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identified high school and collegiate athletes. These incredible athletes make up the “Fearless” project, which has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and for the first time in Great Britain during the 2012 Olympic Games.

1. 1. Aaron (Varsity Squash Team, Brown University, 2003)

2. 2. Kasha (Varsity Soccer Team, Northwestern University, 2004)

3. 3. Lindsay (Track and Field and Rugby, Brown University, 2004)

4. 4. Lauren (Varsity Basketball, Mount Holyoke College, 2005)

5. 5. Hank (Boys Water Polo Team, Harvard-Westlake H.S., 2006)

6. 6. Jamal (Track and Field Team, Dartmouth College, 2006)

7. 7. Kate (Varsity Swim Team, Oberlin College, 2006)

8. 8. Lee (Field Hockey and Lacrosse Teams, Greely H.S., 2006)

9. 9. Oracio (Men’s Crew Team, University of California - Irvine, 2006)

10. 10. Amanda (Women’s Lacrosse Team, University of California - Santa Barbara, 2007)

11. 11. Ashley (Cross Country Team, Harker H.S., 2007)

12. 12. Jake (Men’s Diving Team, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, 2007)

13. 13. Jamar (Track and Field Team - Hurdles, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, 2007)

14. 14. Jeff (Fencing Team, Columbia University, 2007)

15. 15. Stef (Varsity Soccer Team, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2007)

16. 16. Adam (Baseball and Football, Washington University in St. Louis, 2008)

17. 17. Andrew (Men’s Swimming Team, Purdue University, 2008)

18. 18. Twins: Chris and Jack (Cross Country Team and Varsity Basketball, Wooster Academy H.S., 2008)

19. 19. Krystal (Varsity Softball Team, UCLA, 2008)

20. 20. Matt (Cross Country Team, Thetford Academy H.S., 2008)

21. 21. Xander (Men’s Water Polo Team, Brown University, 2008)

22. 22. Chase (Men’s Tennis Team, University of Nebraska, 2009)

23. 23. Curry (Track and Field Team, Colgate College, 2009)

24. 24. Deb (Fencing Team, Brown University, 2009)

25. 25. James (Boys’ Diving Team, Walled Lake Western H.S., 2009)

26. 26. Kiera (Women’s Lacrosse, Ithaca College, 2009)

27. 27. Matt (Varsity Football and Baseball, Marywood-Palm Valley H.S., 2009)

28. 28. Taylor (Field Hockey, Suffield Academy, 2009)

29. 29. Will (Football Team, Macalester College, 2009)

30. 30. Kye (Basketball Team, George Washington University, 2010)

31. 31. Avery (Women’s Hockey Team, Amherst College, 2011)

32. 32. Theo (Wrestling Team, Amherst College, 2011)

All images courtesy of Jeff Sheng, Fearless Project.

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In the 10-minute video above, Jeff explains the goal behind his project and the journey he went on over the past nine years. Jeff captures “the stories of all these unknown people. They are high school students and college students, some as young as fifteen years old, who face the really horrible prospect of being bullied, harassed or beaten up by their fellow teammates… and these young people do this incredible thing – they simply say, ‘I’m going to be who I am.’”

Now, Jeff is raising money through Kickstarter in an effort to turn the Fearless exhibit into a photography book.

Jeff is known for his photo series Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on closeted U.S. military service members affected by the policy of that same name, which forbid openly gay service members in the US armed forces until 2011.

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