Education is continuously becoming more diverse in its student population. In today's heated political environment, some populations are fighting to maintain their basic human rights. This issue is not exclusive to adults; it is an issue that spreads from adulthood to our youngest populations. Young students fight to have themselves understood as they try to understand themselves. They struggle to be identified the way they want to be identified. Oftentimes, students in these situations face discrimination and harassment among their peers, family, friends, and beyond. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth struggle with suicide at much higher rates than their heterosexual classmates, and they are more likely to be rejected from their families (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/). While there is a lot of work yet to do on these issues, our youth need and deserve to have themselves understood by their peers and the adults in their lives.
What it does
This poster is the first of many posters that could be made to promote LGBTQ rights and to create an inclusive environment to students in today's schools, beyond being inclusive to only their cultural backgrounds. As a school counselor in training, I would promote these poster and others in my office and lessons, as possible, to promote these issues. It can be made as part of a lesson plan for school counselors, educators, etc. as a visual supplement to their diversity, anti-discrimination, anti-bullying, etc. lesson plans. Posters such as these can be displayed during important LGBTQ history months and dates. Using digital imaging programs, such as Photoshop, it can be edited and built upon for personalizing purposes.
How I built it
This is a mixed media poster on 9 inch by 10 inch canvas board. The rainbow background was made by watercolor paints, tilted to create the watercolor run at the bottom. The Earth was drawn in pencil before being painted over in acrylic paint; the people, hearts, and lettering was done in acrylic paint, too. I chose to settle with non-distinguishable gendered people so the viewer of the poster can impose their own gender onto each individual. After letting it dry overnight, I used a Canon printer to scan the image onto my laptop, where I used Adobe to convert it from a PDF file to a JPG file.
Challenges I ran into
My biggest challenge was to decide what social justice issue I wanted to discuss. As a member of the LGBTQ community living in a very unstable political atmosphere, I chose to promote inclusion and equality for all genders and sexuality. As an artist, I wanted to do this in visual form. As I am still learning digital art, I preferred to do this in paint. I am in a masters program for school counseling, so I chose something I could put into use when I am in the schools.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am proud of finding a way to bring art into a Hack-a-Thon. I am proud to display my amateur talent in painting, as I am much better in graphite, in a way that can advocate for a community I am apart of.
What I learned
I learned that I could incorporate this into future lesson plans, and that there is many ways to advocate for a community, such as in art.
What's next for Love is Love
This is the beginning of a series of posters and advocacy art to address issues in the LGBTQ community and promote awareness, anti-discrimination, and anti-bullying. It is targeted to today's youth but can be expanded to the general population.