A Brony is an adult male fan of the children’s animated TV series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. (Adult female fans are called Pegasisters.) The series is the fourth generation of the show and follows the adventures of six main ponies: Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity. Each pony represents an element of friendship: loyalty, generosity, laughter, honesty, kindness, and magic. Together they help the residents of Ponyville while working through the highs and lows of friendship. (I should know, I've seen every episode.)

The Brony community, in the Bay Area and all over the world, is a direct reflection of these six characters. Fans see parts of themselves in each pony and have developed a deep connection to the show. It has bred an entire community that exudes genuineness. People dive into discussions on the forums, share artwork, remix songs, make and sell pony merchandise, and write their own spin-off adventures. It’s a hub of creativity and friendship.

With all the positive things to be said about Bronies, it’s one of the few fandoms that has yet to be accepted by the masses. Bronies are often stereotyped as homosexuals or pedophiles, and most keep their love of the show a secret out of fear. (There are numerous stories of Bronies being harassed and assaulted.) That’s why BronyCons are so important to the fandom. It’s a place where Bronies can be themselves, free of judgment. There, it doesn’t matter your age, race, gender, or size.

With this photography project, I document some of the Bronies and Pegasisters in the Bay Area. It’s an ongoing project and could take years to complete. Here, I share a glimpse of the local community.

Robert Vancleave
Age 20
Favorite pony: Twilight Sparkle

Being a Brony for me is about friendship, passion, and being able to try new things in life.

Ohad Kanne
Age 30
Favorite pony: Vinyl Scratch

Being a Brony means good times for all!

Lani Carissa Wong-Bassett

Age 30
Favorite pony: Rainbow Dash

Being a Brony means that acceptance, fun, and love are a part of my life. No matter a person’s color, size, age, or gender – we are all a part of the world's rainbow!

Sean Tony Bassett

Age 40  

Favorite pony: Bulk Biceps

Being a part of the Brony community allows me to explore a fun and silly side of myself without anyone judging me.

Sean Leon Tony Bassett
Age 6 1/2
Favorite pony: DJ Pon-3 / Vinyl Scratch

I love the show because it makes me feel like I'm a flying pony!

Andrew Leung Olivier
Age 25
Favorite pony: Rarity

The friendship is magic and fandom is fun, quirky, and friendly.

Name: Ian A. Rankin
Age: 30
Favorite pony: I don't know, but I speculate that fellow expert Bronies would compare me to Miss Harshwhinny.

What does being a Brony mean to me? I don't know. That one's too deep for me.

Name: Lexie Cavallero
Age: 19
Favorite pony: Fluttershy

Being a Brony is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life and I am forever honored to be one.

Name: Elise Chrisler
Age: 17
Favorite pony: Princess Luna

Being a Brony has made me a happier and more cheerful person, and I'm so glad that I found this series.

Name: Kyle Lishka
Age: 19
Favorite pony: Vinyl Scratch / DJ Pon-3

While finding a fun show like MLP is enjoyable in its own right, it's the community that makes being a Brony truly worthwhile to me.

Name: Dusty
Age: 18
Favorite pony: Applejack

To me, being a Brony means that I can still be your best friend, even if I have a different interest from yours.

Name: Angela Campbell
Age: 17
Favorite pony: Vinyl Scratch

Finding the Brony community was one of the best things that's happened to me; it brought me back from a low part of my life and helped me see the beauty in things more clearly.

Name: Emily D.
Age: 26
Favorite pony: Fluttershy

To me, being a Brony simply means being able to enjoy this wonderful show with my friends!

Name: Russell B.
Age: 27
Favorite pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle

I love the show and its community of like-minded people.

Photo assistant: Lisa Stephen