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Name: Jackie Proctor PGPs: her/she Age: 17 High School/College: Van Nuys/Santa Monica College

Where in your artwork are the themes of gender and/or sexuality evident? I am greatly influenced by the idea of stereotypes and trying to both point them out and defining ourselves how we want to be defined, I try to give people the space to do that through my photography. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? I have gone through a lot of self discovery and I continue to figure myself out more so there tends to be a lot of anger, frustration, confusion, that I try to channel through my photography. I have a hard time through taking pride but I try giving confidence. Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not? For my recent work, I do not make them ambiguous, I make them very obvious. I try to be in peopleʼs face and direct the viewer to exactly what I want them to think, or at least push them towards what my intentions were. What purpose do you think ambiguity/straightforwardness serves in addressing these themes? Does it work to make art more relatable or isolating? I think that ambiguity or taking a less straight forward approach allows space for those who feel uncomfortable discussing issues of the LGBT+ community, possibly because they are part of the problem, a more comfortable setting to acknowledge changes that need to be made. How do you think your art form works to convey these themes to its audience? With photography I can control the emotions or tension through color, composition, and help compliment the overall idea that there needs to be a discussion of human rights. By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? I try to keep the mentality that everyone can at least recognize the issues of the LGBT+ community, and try to create a bridge of understanding of at least part of what would need to happen to create a better environment for the LGBT+ community.


Who/what influenced you to create art that incorporates these themes? I was influenced by many photographers from Diane Arbus to Cindy Sherman, their photography styles are completely different, they “speak� about the people who are different, or showing a different view of a group of people who are commonly stereotyped as freaks; these groups of people include women, as well as LGBT+ people. This brought people who were often in the shadows to the light and made people question what they previously believed. How do you want your work to affect your audience emotionally? socially? politically? I just want to make people think, whether it causes action or not. In what ways do you think expression through art is different from the selfexpression that takes place in normal conversation/day-to-day interactions with others? Personally, I have a hard time expressing myself to people normally, and with photography I challenge myself to find ways to portray how I feel or what I am thinking. Why did you choose this art form to incorporate these themes in instead of other forms? I have always loved photography, and I was always told I was not very good at other forms of art. I still work with other mediums, I am just uncomfortable calling them my art. I love working with photography because it allows me to work with other people whether they be models who help shape my art or assistants helping me with lighting, which helps me not only grow more as an artist but have a better grasp of how to achieve what I want in a photograph. How do you feel your artworks affect your own understanding of yourself and your identity? Because my identity is unclear to myself at any given moment, I feel like photography helps me work through what I am trying to discover about myself. How do you plan on using your art form in the future? My goal is to own an art gallery and continue to keep a space for photography. Ultimately I would like to do outreach with other children who may not have the opportunities to be exposed to different kinds of art and different kinds of thinking.


Name: Andrew Taban PGPs: He. Him, His Age: 17 City/High School: Canyon Country / Canyon High School

Where in your artwork are the themes of gender and/or sexuality evident? I myself, am not an artist through paintings but through vocals. Most of my themes are done in music. The only artwork I have done that was to represent it has been crayon art where it was on one side all colorful crayon (like a rainbow) and on the other blues, purples, (darker colors) and in the middle they mixed. This showed that itʼs okay to mix; no harm can be done. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? Many times if I do address these issue it is with pride and love, but of course, there are other emotions that go into it, not just one. Sometimes it can be all. It really depends on the situation. Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not? Personally it was not like I intended to do so, but of course you can always view it differently than what was intended. By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? I currently do not have an agenda. It is simply expression for myself. Who/what influenced you to create art that incorporates these themes? I for quite some time have been bothered by things, but what truly opened me up more was my participation at an Activist Camp. Why? I am not even sure of that question.


How do you want your work to affect your audience socially? politically? I would absolutely love both. If it affects them socially, it will have to affect them politically. In what ways do you think expression through art is different from the self-expression that takes place in normal conversation/day-to-day interactions with others? I feel that expression through the arts is something more “relaxing” for some. Itʼs that the artwork wonʼt argue back, because the artwork is you, and understands who and what you are; it accepts you, and wonʼt question. I believe it really depends on the person. Why did you choose this art form to incorporate these themes in instead of other forms? I honestly did not choose; it just happened.


Name: Dean PGPs: He/Him/His Age: 16 City: Bakersfield Other Background Info: In addition to making patches, I am a creative writer and I crochet.

Where in your artwork are the themes of gender and/or sexuality evident? Themes of gender and sexuality are present in almost all of my work. I have a lot to say and express when it comes to those two topics, so it is naturally the center of my work. There are patches with just doodles that relate in someway to queerness and other patches that have statements and very straightforward messages. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work— through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? I express themes of gender and sexuality through anger, pride, love and empowerment. I like to use short snarky phrases, symbols, reclamation of slurs, and other ways of representing and expressing my love for my identities. Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not? I make patches to express myself and say something to the world. Iʼm very proud of being queer and most of the things I have to say relate to being queer in some way so I make the queerness in my art very upfront and loud. What purpose do you think ambiguity/straightforwardness serves in addressing these themes? Does it work to make art more relatable or isolating? I think being straightforward serves to be more relatable while at the same time isolating in addressing my queerness. Iʼm trying to be a visible queer trans man and my patches assist in achieving that goal. I wear all the patches that I make on my vest or jacket and I hope that by wearing very openly queer art that I can attract and draw in other queer and trans* kids. Maybe if a questioning queer kid sees it they can know that someone else around them is like them. I think while it serves its purpose in that respect it can also isolate people who are not queer friendly and that is more than fine with me because I make art for me and other queers. When I have things to say through my patches even if the people who see them donʼt like them, I hope in being straightforward it gets under their skin and they think about it. By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? In my work it is completely a mix of both. I only make patches that I think express myself and approve of the message they send out. Iʼm a person that has a lot to say about the world and the way society works and I think that in making patches that say something that is also an expression of me. I think that in the patches were Iʼm reclaiming slurs that it sends out a message like say your worst but it wonʼt hurt me because that is how I define myself.


How do you want your work to affect your audience emotionally? socially? politically?I want my work to make people think about the things that my patches say or represent. If they see something that they don始t understand it might stick with them and they will look it up. In some of the things I make it is very brash and I think that aids in getting things to stick. Since gender and sexuality are social, political, and emotional topics I始d like for it to have some sort of affect in those ways. I think wearing my queer patches makes people around me realize that there are trans* people, there are queer people, and there are people who are both and I hope that makes them think about the people that are around them. Why did you choose this art form to incorporate these themes in instead of other forms? Patch making is the form that I feel I can best express these themes in. When I始m writing I get caught up in the language and lose some of the meaning and I think that with patches I can express these themes best through the combination of doodles and short phrases. I like painting, doodling, sewing and I like making statements so this is the best way for me to express myself through this medium and say something. I also get to wear these so it is like a public statement, almost as if I始m a walking billboard.

How do you feel your artworks affect your own understanding of yourself and your identity? My patches give me a better understanding of myself and identities by seeing the things that I create and the things that I feel are important to say. Patch making gives me a way to explore these topics in a way that is more palpable than just thoughts and words. This helps me get a better understanding of how I understand myself and my identities. How do you plan on using your art form in the future? I hope to put this art form to use in the future by continuing to be an outlet for expressing myself. I hope to put this and the skills used in patch making to use somehow in my activism in making society queer friendly.


Name: Yesenia Padilla PGPs (Preferred Gender Pronouns): She/Her/Hers Age: 18 City/College/High School: El Monte, UC Riverside Other Background Info: I mainly work with surrealism which I love to express through my art, personality and way of live. A lot of the free writing, short stories and poetry I write on my spare time is a bit more on the real side.


Where in your artwork are the themes of gender and/or sexuality evident? I am really expressive with the themes of gender and sexuality in my poetry and free writes. I really love mixing my personal thoughts and experiences with my own sexuality and putting it together to make powerful statements. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? The best of my work comes to me when there is negativity around me. I write a lot about my experiences and frustrations as a young queer Chicana with invisible disabilities.  Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not? In my drawings and designs the themes are really hidden in my work; however, in my writing it is a lot more straight forward because I use writing as a form of healing and it helps me to be as descriptive as possible. What purpose do you think ambiguity/straightforwardness serves in addressing these themes? Does it work to make art more relatable or isolating? I think a lot of young women or anyone who has ever had to deal with anything from catcalling to sexual assault and abusive relationships can really relate to my writings. Also anyone who has ever felt that their queer identity is constantly trying to be belittled by others could totally relate to my writing. How do you think your art form works to convey these themes to its audience?   My writings are pretty straight forward but anyone through their own personal experiences can interpret it in a completely different manner and it doesn't really matter to me as long as they look at my work as a form of connection and healing. By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? I believe all of my art work is a complete expression of who I am as a person and I hope that through my work I can open certain people's eyes to the experiences that others experience. Who/what influenced you to create art that incorporates these themes? My personal experiences have always been the inspiration behind all my artwork but reading authors like Gloria E. Anzaldúa really helped me get the courage to put my experiences in writing. How do you want your work to affect your audience emotionally? socially? politically? I really would love for my writing to inspire others in whatever way possible. I am not here to change anyone's mind, my art is my form of healing and if it can open someone's eyes to something new I totally accept that and send them much love and respect.


Steven Equihua He/Him/His 17 Orcutt CA Ernest Righetti High School Singing, Acting and Drawing

! Hello my name is Steven. My artistic abilities reflect my sexuality a lot and how I believe that everyone is human, and that it doesn't matter what gender You are or Your sexual preference. Over the years I've been practicing my drawing, singing and acting skills. I'm quite the artsy person. When I sing songs that I like, I Love to change up lyrics to make them more relatable to me and my sexuality. An example of this is the song "There She Goes.� I relate to it by how much I may miss my boyfriend, and so, I like to sing it with the lyrics "There HE Goes". By changing the pronouns of the song I feel like I relate to the song much better and I can feel like I'm really singing about my loved one. ! What's even better is when songs are already sung in male pronouns like Paparazzi. I could just sing the line "but I won't stop until that BOY is mine.� And things get tricky when song lyrics are also in 1st person and you're singing about yourself. So instead of the line in Paparazzi "I'll be your girl back stage at your show," I change the lyrics to "I'll be your MAN back stage at your show." So that, again, I can relate to it because I prefer to sing by my pronouns and my sexuality. Although I change lyrics to fit my PGP's(Preferred Gender Pronouns) I do like to believe that were all human and not to look at the gender all the time. ! In my acting I do love to change female characters into male characters when I relate to them such as Eponine in Les Miserables. Eponine and I share a heartache I used to have and sometimes still have where we miss the one we love or can't have them. Gay men struggle wanting and lusting for a man they can't have, but at the same time everyone suffers that. Me though, I suffered that a lot and so I like the thought of one day being the male version of Eponine to show that it doesn't even matter what gender You are, You can feel and be just like any character in a story no matter what gender they are because in the end, weʟre all people who have feelings and we can relate to many things. Even so, I like to also think about being not male or female when acting because "acting is being" as my director Mz. Jean Byrne always says and it's true. You can be a male or female character in acting and it's fun(funny as well sometimes) to act the opposite sex but it also feels good because I like to think that either way we are still human and not just a gender in acting.


! I actually love the movie Moulin Rouge so much that I'd Love to either be Christian OR Satine because the characters are so loving and deep and I'm passionate about it, although I'd Love to also be a male version of Satine if the opportunity ever came, but mostly I Love being my own gender and also feeling comfortable that sometimes I feel androgynous. ! Last, through my art in drawing I Love to also turn female characters into male characters to see in my Heart what characters would look like if they switched gender roles. Sometimes I like to turn straight couple pictures into gay couple pictures. That's the beauty of art--You can change anything and get creative. You can turn one thing into another to make it related to your thoughts, your feelings and your heart始s desires. So I decide to change a lot of things to express how I would want to see or feel something. ! In the end, my artistic ability reflects my sexuality and my pride in my own gender role very much. I enjoy changing things up to fit the pieces of my heart and show it to others and give others the idea of making their own creations if they ever feel trapped in artwork. They should be free in art work more often.


Name: Angel Garcia PGPs: Ze, Hir, Hirs Age: 17 City/High School: Theodore Roosevelt High School, Fresno CA

Other Background Info: I like to do many things. When it comes to entertainment, that's a part of me that shines. I can create animations, and I can film/direct/edit. I am also interested in the art of Dance. I love to choreograph dances, and use the art of dance to express myself. I also express myself through my fashion. I created myself a style that shines both with masculinity and femininity. I wear menʼs clothes along with obvious womenʼs cloths. By having my high heels (stilettos) as my fashion trade mark, I love to cause controversy and attention. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? I find myself addressing these themes of gender and of sexuality in my work through pride and pain. Whenever I tried to express my sexuality through my cloths, I've always been oppressed and limited. But now that I fought my way to tolerance and acceptance from my family, I use all the pain I had gone through - the rejection, oppression, and depression - and I form an inner strength to unleash my true sexuality with pride and retaliation. How do you think your art form works to convey these themes to its audience? Well, I believe through my creative-aberrant fashion, I hope that my audience can realize that they too can express themselves differently from the norm. I want to dress how they feel or how they see themselves. This is my personal aspire to inspire.


Name: Cheyenne Sherrill PGPs: Feminine or Neutral Age: 17 High School: Buena Park High School City: Buena Park, Orange County, California Art: Theatre, Music, Painting, Sculpting Where in your artwork are the themes of gender and/or sexuality evident? Where they are most evident has to be in my theatrics. The monologues I write often can be about sexual orientation, bisexualism, lesbianism, and the different plays off of feminism and masculinity. The variations of such. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love? With a monologue I had written for a class last year, I spoke of the different frustrations built upon by society and how that can affect people. I conveyed in anger and despair the effect, such as suicide, a judgmental heteronormative society can have on people whom are of the LGBTQ community. Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not? I personally have not made these ambiguous due to the fact allot of these portray emotions I, myself have had but I looking forward to doing more works that are ambiguous in the future, because it is important for people to be able to bend and twist these pieces so they can better relate to them. What purpose do you think ambiguity/straightforwardness serves in addressing these themes? Does it work to make art more relatable or isolating? Being straightforward in art can be very important. Especially with these themes regarding sexuality and gender expression. For people who can identify with these topics it is important to see people are expressing and conveying this through art. As for people that may not be able to relate to these themes, it can open their minds by seeing these emotions be conveyed regarding these themes and subjects. How do you think your art form works to convey these themes to its audience? Well, I have worked with my sexuality expression in theatrics, so, depending on how the monologues are formatted and written, it can really speak for itself.


By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? I like to express parts of myself and my whole self through theatre, but I also want it to make a point and leave an emotional impression. Theatre and arts have the ability to change peoples lives and affect them greatly. To me, that is extremely important. Who/what influenced you to create art that incorporates these themes? I kind of gathered up the courage myself to express these types of themes of sexuality and gender expression because I find it important for people of the LGBTQ community to find something in the arts they identify with and for society to be exposed to these themes through art and theatrics. Also, people such as Freddy Mercury, Elton John, Joan Jett, Garbage and Tigan and Sara, even Macklemore make me want to express my sexuality through music more. How do you want your work to affect your audience emotionally? socially? politically? I want there to be raw emotion impacted into the audience. I feel if people see these and feel these themes and how they affect people it possibly would make them feel differently about people of the LGBTQ community and understand what we often times have to go through. In what ways do you think expression through art is different from the self-expression that takes place in normal conversation/day-to-day interactions with others? One of the biggest differences is, you are performing for an audience. You are in a different place and can set the scene however you wish. Change it, tweak it, do whatever. You can portray and express any type of emotion you want. There are no boundaries to what you can and cannot express at that moment. Why did you choose this art form to incorporate these themes in instead of other forms? I chose theatre because it is an amazing way to convey emotion. You can see body language, facial expression, voice tone, all sorts of variations of emotional expression. It makes it a very personal and compelling experience. How do you feel your artworks affect your own understanding of yourself and your identity? When you are acting in theatrics and you bring up certain subjects and perform them, you have to put yourself back into the place you where that made you feel those emotions. This process makes yourself reflect on how you felt and why and how it overall affected you. It makes for a very therapeutic experience. How do you plan on using your art form in the future? I want to write more monologues about sexuality and even dive into gender expression a bit more. I am definitely looking forward to writing songs and incorporating these themes and emotions into my music. Theatrics, music, art. These all are very emotional and touching ways to convey sexuality and gender expression and I can始t wait to expand on them even more.


Name: Shontay Richardson PGPs: My name is great :) (also she, they/them/they're, kelly rowland) Age: 21 City/College/High School: Purchase College *Optional* Other Background Info: I'm interested in so many different aspects of art including dance/choreography, sculpting, special effects make-up/make-up design, songwriting/composing , photography, directing and many more.  I've had the chance throughout my life to dabble in many different art forms. How do you find yourself addressing these themes of gender and/or sexuality in your work—through anger, frustration, confusion, pride, happiness, love?  Do you make these themes ambiguous in your work or not? Why or why not?  What purpose do you think ambiguity/straightforwardness serves in addressing these themes? With my work, personally, I like to treat it as though it's a normal thing for the most part.   This usually will produce a bit of shock/confusion from the audience.  They'll go into a situation expecting a heteronormative situation, cisgender characters and themes and be handed something completely different.  To me their reaction is my favorite part.  The subtle readjustment in their seat or slight bulge of their eyes for just a second.  That's not to say that I haven't presented these themes in a more ambiguous way.  I find that in my music I use a less straightforward approach when working with themes.  I think it's because it's so easy, when writing music, to sort of keep a blindfold of the eyes of the listener until you choose to give them specific information.. It can almost be like a game of sorts.  Leading them on a journey and letting them discover the truth behind the art.  How do you think your art form works to convey these themes to its audience? How do you want your work to affect your audience emotionally? socially? politically? Since I deal with a few different art forms I guess I'll use an example. When dealing with photography you're capturing singular moments. With my photography I like to capture moments that people may think are hidden as well as the obvious.  It can be a brush of the skin or a glance... I want to capture the emotion of the moment and be able to tell a story.  I guess this is the case with all of my works of art.. I want to tell a story.  I want the audience to leave my art feeling some sort of change.. whether it's a deeper


understanding, a desire to learn more about the subject or a desire to make a difference it doesn't matter.  I just want them to feel some sort of change.  By incorporating these themes in your work, do you have some sort of an agenda, or is this purely an expression of yourself, or a mix of both? I would have to say that it's a mix of both. My art will always be a way for me to express myself and gather my thoughts, but at times I do have an agenda. I feel that by sharing these themes with the world more often they won't be so taboo.  The more that people are introduced to these subjects the more comfortable they will feel around them and the more inclined they'll be to learn more about them.  Who/what influenced you to create art that incorporates these themes? Hmm I would have to say my past self has influenced me. The reason why I say this is because when I was younger I would always look for things that were "queer".  I would look for movies, artwork, place...WHATEVER!  It was extremely hard for me to find these things in Westchester County.  I want youth in this area to have the opportunities that I didn't and to have easier access to things with queer themes... In this case artwork. How do you plan on using your art form in the future? I'm currently creating a company call HAUS of COSA.  COSA standing for Creativity, Opportunity, Service and Achievement.  My mission is to merge two of my biggest passions Civic Engagement and The Arts.  I use the term "The Arts" to be inclusive of all different forms of art.  In the future we plan to bring more visibility to queer people within modeling and fashion, put on a musical production and partner with organizations in the surrounding area that share the same themes, host open mics/fundraisers for binders/ top surgery and more!  Check out our Facebook page to stay updated and learn how to get involved! https://www.facebook.com/HausOfCosa


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TAOHOH: Interviews with Young Artists on the Topics of Gender and Sexuality