The LGBTQ+ community is vast and varied. We each come to our sexual and gender identities with multitudes of who we are in the world. Diversity in our communities makes our collective voice complex and ever-evolving. Embracing difference and seeking commonality, Fierce Pride brought together community members to dream up a vision of resilience and health. Working with four artists from the community, we created four inspiring and affirming art prints. The community conversations were framed around specific identities within the LGBTQ+ community that often experience added marginalization and health inequities. The conversations were with bisexual, pansexual, and queer people; LGBTQ+ older adults; LGBTQ+ youth; and transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-binary people. Each group and artist worked to create an art piece that would be reproduced and displayed where LGBTQ+ people get quality, welcoming mental health care. The visual images would make visible LGBTQ+ identities in healthcare to both providers and patients.

Bisexual, pansexual, and queer identities have been historically underrepresented in LGBTQ+ research and outreach, yet make up the largest population of the community. Fierce Pride invited people who identify as bisexual, pansexual or queer to discuss what health and resiliency look like for them. Artist, Adelina Cruz, joined the group and created the piece of art, Healthy, Free, and Proud based on themes and stories shared in the community conversation.

LGBTQ+ older adults population was chosen because of they carry the historical perspective of the movement and have unique health needs and concerns. Artist, Ilene Weiss, joined the conversation and based her art piece on the notion that LGBTQ+ older adults refuse to be invisible. The piece is called Because We Lived, Because We Loved.

LGBTQ+ youth population was chosen because of their position to most benefit from health interventions and shape the discourse on gender, identity, and community. Fierce Pride hosted a group of youth ages 16 to 21 who identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The young people were most visionary and ambitious in their definitions of resilience and health for the LGBTQ+ community. Artist, Haven Aragon, sought to represent diverse and varied identities that have emerged in queer youth communities in his piece, A Place For You Here.

Transgender, genderqueer, non-binary folks were another identity chosen for the project because they experience high levels of discrimination and mistreatment. Despite those hardships, our transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary community members are resilient, strong, and want to see positive, hopeful representations of themselves. Artist, Dee Ross-Reed created the work, Inside, Out capturing the liminal experience of many transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary people.

Because We Lived, Because We Loved

by Ilene Weiss

Because We Lived, Because We Loved commemorates the strength and resilience of older adult lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. It is inspired by themes and imagery from conversations and collaborations from the LGBTQ+ older adult community. The rainbow patterns and quilt like materiality speak to the history of LGBTQ+ older adults, such as the birth of the rainbow flag and the AIDS quilt which commemorates when LGBTQ+ lives were brought to the forefront of healthcare conversations. The prominent hands represent the strength of these older adults and the bright, smiling and slightly worn faces of the figures portray the pride in the work and the successes this community facilitated in the name of equal rights.

“One of the strongest messages I took away from the LGBTQ+ older adults community conversation was about survival and legacy.” ~ Ilene Weiss

Ilene Weiss (she, her, hers), mixed media artist, believes that as social creatures, we are products of our environments and our passions. Whenever possible she uses her creativity to support causes and communities she cares for. This piece was created to help make visible her own elder queer community.

This artwork is from Bright Spaces, Welcome Places: A health campaign supported by Fierce Pride and the New Mexico Department of Health to create understanding and affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives in healthcare settings.

Inside, Out

by Dee Ross-Reed

Inside, Outside is a self-portrait, inspired by themes and imagery from conversations and collaborations with transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-binary community members. It is a look into the queer world of the ocean, where gender-transcending creatures reflect complex and fluid experiences of gender diverse communities. For example, male seahorses carry their offspring through pregnancy, and jellyfish may change their sex during the lifespan. In Inside, Outside, the figure exists on both sides of a border separating open air space with the underwater, symbolizing how transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming individuals can occupy multiple genders at once, resulting in feelings of being half-in, half-out of spaces. The full moon and sunlight coming into the sea represent hope for queer communities and their families.

“Gender is so much more than the binary that we are asked to accept. The magic is in our complexity. I imagine a world where we are free and encouraged to show up for one another with the fullness of all of our identities. ” ~Dee Ross-Reed

Dee Ross-Reed (they/them/theirs) is a queer, non-binary person who expresses their creativity through storytelling, digital art, social science research, and data visualization.

This artwork is from Bright Spaces, Welcome Places: A health campaign supported by Fierce Pride and the New Mexico Department of Health to create understanding and affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives in healthcare settings.

Healthy, Free, and Proud

by Adelina Cruz

Healthy, Free and Proud is a work of healing inspired by themes and imagery from conversations and collaborations from bisexual, pansexual, and queer community members. The figure is engaged in a self-embrace, celebrating self-acceptance and self-love. The flutter of butterfly wings symbolizes freedom of identity, freedom of expression, and the joy of being seen and heard. “Biangles,” the overlapping pink and blue triangles, represent the both/and existence of bisexuals and the diverse identities they straddle.

“The hope for this piece is to express safety, affirmation, and inclusiveness with art and imagery for queer/bisexual/pansexual people, specifically people of color who navigate the healthcare system” – Adelina Cruz

Adelina Cruz (pronouns they, them, their) is a non-binary, queer Xicanx, community-oriented visual artist who works primarily with painting, drawing and digital art.

This artwork is from Bright Spaces, Welcome Places: A health campaign supported by Fierce Pride and the New Mexico Department of Health to create understanding and affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives in healthcare settings.

A Place For You Here

by Haven Aragon

Vibrant colors and gathering of different bodies in A Place For You Here represents the importance Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual, etc. youth place on optimism for the present and future. It is inspired by themes and imagery from conversations with LGBTQ+ youth community members. LGBTQ+ youth embrace the complexities of identity and these diverse bodies depict multiple genders, skin colors, body types and abilities. Various flags of the LGBTQ+ movement are incorporated into the colors, clothes, and imagery of the work to honor those that came before to make this diversity and optimism possible.

“Through love, health, and diversity our community will continue to flourish for generations to come. The more we open our hearts to one another, the more plentiful we become in community, wellness, and acceptance.” – Haven Aragon.

Haven Aragon (he/him/his) is a transmasculine digital and traditional artist who aspires to become a graphic novelist and tattoo artist.

This artwork is from Bright Spaces, Welcome Places: A health campaign supported by Fierce Pride and the New Mexico Department of Health to create understanding and affirmation of LGBTQ+ lives in healthcare settings.