Being queer in today’s society comes with many setbacks and hurdles. While we have made strides forwars, there is so much work left to do to break down the hateful infrastructure built into the world we live in. This infrastructure contributes to an overall lack of support not only for the things we do, but for the things we produce. Whether it’s getting overlooked for a promotion, getting chosen last to participate in a game, or simply being unrecognized, it has been shown to us time and time again that we still get the short end of the stick more often than not.
This treatment easily gets passed on to the art community as people often view queer art with an expression I refer to as “freak goggles.” Instead of seeing the beauty in it, they view it as taboo or unnecessary. This diminishing view of art is not only harmful in the present, but it suppresses the ability for the next generation of queer people to see and understand those who came before them. This is shown in our current social landscape; we love and admire so many artists from generations past, but they couldn’t express their true, queer identity.
Queer visibility in art is vital to our forward movement as a society. We as a society are built on the foundation of people seeking inspiration from those who seem familiar to them and appear to share the same experiences. It’s not being unapologetically queer merely for the sake of expression, but in a way that passes the torch to the next LGBTQ creative.
Prism, a Shutterstock Employee Resource Group, put it best: “Many works from queer artists came to be thanks to strong support systems, something consumers today can help contribute to by seeking out the work of LGBTQ photographers, illustrators, videographers, graphic designers, and more. By supporting members of the queer community in their artistic endeavors, consumers and customers can both support a marginalized group as they create art from a unique perspective, and also aid in maintaining their individual livelihood.”
For anyone curious as to how you can support queer art:
The easiest way to become a patron is to share someone’s artwork on social media. In the digital age, we have digital art. Whether it’s graphic design or animation, sharing not only provides a chance to inspire and gain traction, but reposting increases exposure and garners potential clients. This is a direct contribution to their creative space and contributes to their sustainability as a human being. This can enhance the sense of connection between you and the artist and that is invaluable.
There’s also the opportunity to support queer in the fiscal sense. We spend so much on frivolous things, but redirecting just some of our spending could move mountains for queer artists in any space. Instead of buying a T-shirt from a fast fashion company, support a smaller queer-owned fashion line like MCE Creations. Buying a new phone case? There are queer artists who design incredible art to use on it. It is important that we use these resources to our advantage because when one of us wins, we all do in some way.
Until queer art is celebrated in the same way that all art is, there is an increased need for our community to rally around to ensure they receive their due respect.
Prism sums it up best: “In an ideal world, all queer art would sit on the same pedestal as artwork produced by a straight artist. Just like their straight counterparts, LGBTQ artists have stories to tell, which is why their vision and the resulting art has and always will matter.”
Dante (@thedanterhodes) is the Founding Chief Host and Lifestyle Editor of The Gayly Dose, an Atlanta-based podcast hosted by an all-gay cast. Unique in its mission and follow-on format, weekly episodes are known for their real conversations about things that matter to the community and their listeners. Purposefully candid and brutally honest, the cast speaks on a range of topics including monogamy, body issues, coming out, dating apps and growing up gay in the church. Listen at thegaylydose.com.