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Paula Allen

Havana Blow Dry | 20″ x 24.85″ | Digital silver halide print | 2004

Artist Statement

The writer Armistead Maupin said, “We have biological families, and logical families,” a statement that conveys a process painfully familiar to many LGBTQ+ people—that of recognizing and harnessing the love, acceptance, and magic of people we meet while forming our own identities. 
The images presented here depict gay, lesbian, transvestite, transgender and queer friends who I photographed in Havana, Cuba over a period of many years. They speak to us, whether in Havana or Detroit, my hometown, of a fierce determination against entrenched hatred, prejudice, and marginalization, while creating lives abundant with joy, love, and humor. My hope is that these images reach across time, borders, and language to reveal the essence of our humanity and how we are most powerful when we are together.

Artwork/s at the following locations:
Galerie Camille
Norwest Gallery

Artist Website + Social Media:

MR/QD Is Made Possible BY

Artists stipends made possible by Kresge Arts in Detroit

For details and more info on making a contribution to Mighty Real/Queer Detroit, please contact us at

About MR/QD

Mighty Real/Queer Detroit is an art exhibition in June 2022 devoted to 77 years (1945-2022) of Detroit LGBTQ+ art 

The exhibition presents a month-long historical examination of the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its longtime allies, featuring established & emerging Detroit artists, as well as artists whose careers were shortened by HIV/AIDS.

Mighty Real/Queer Detroit is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to promoting positive and meaningful images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through artistic and intellectual means. © 2023. All Rights Reserved.