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.
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
Jade 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.