Tyler Clementi, #ArtToEndViolence

Detail, #ArtToEndViolence; Winner, Award of Excellence in Fine Art, Watercolors, California State Fair, 2015
Detail, #ArtToEndViolence;
Winner, Award of Excellence in Fine Art, Watercolors, California State Fair, 2015

On September 19, 2010, Tyler Clementi was filmed without his consent kissing another man, publicly outed and shamed on social media. As a result he jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. He was 18 years old. This occurred at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

They’re Just Sticks & Stones, Sissy

Detail, #Sticks&Stones; Out There, LA Art Association & Gallery 825's Special Pride Event Show, Summer 2015
Detail, #Sticks&Stones;
Out There, LA Art Association & Gallery 825’s Special Pride Event Show, Summer 2015

“When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.” Leelah Alcorn was made to feel uncomfortable with her gender by her family and the religious community to which they belong. On December 29, 2014, she took her life, stating in her note, ‘I am never going to be happy.”

Leelah was 17 years old.

#Sticks&Stones is part of a larger body of work, #ArttoEndViolence, the titular piece winning an Award of Excellence at the California State Fair, 2015. #Sticks&Stones is a four piece set, watercolor, wax and ink depicting the murders and suicides of LGBT Americans.

Ghosts of Loss

Orange County Creatives Gallery, Summer
Orange County Creatives Gallery, Summer

 

“When you’re a kid, parents always tell you sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you. To me that’s not true. Words hurt, and words turn up to threats and threats turn up to physical violence.” Taylor Alesana, like many transgender teens, was made to feel uncomfortable at school and in society. She spoke about it on her popular YouTube channel before taking her life on April 2, 2015.

Taylor was 16.

Transgender Americans face some of the worst examples of discrimination and violence in our nation. It is widely reported that nearly 45% of all transgender individuals have attempted suicide (although accurate rates may be much higher when accounting for those who may have lived in secret).

We can all do better. We can be accepting and kind to people of all genders. We can demand that conversion therapy be outlawed and deemed abuse. We can demand equal protections for ALL peoples.

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#ARTTOENDVIOLENCE

#TransLivesMatter

 

Tyler Clementi, #ArtToEndViolence

Detail, #ArtToEndViolence; Winner, Award of Excellence in Fine Art, Watercolors, California State Fair, 2015
Detail, #ArtToEndViolence;
Winner, Award of Excellence in Fine Art, Watercolors, California State Fair, 2015

On September 19, 2010, Tyler Clementi was filmed without his consent kissing another man, publicly outed and shamed on social media. As a result he jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. He was 18 years old. This occurred at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

#Sticks&Stones, Blake Brockington

Detail, #Sticks&Stones; Out There, LA Art Association & Gallery 825's Special Pride Event Show, Summer 2015
Detail, #Sticks&Stones;
Out There, LA Art Association & Gallery 825’s Special Pride Event Show, Summer 2015

“I’m so exhausted,” Blake Brockington wrote before walking into traffic on Interstate 485 on March 23, 2015.

Blake was a handsome young man. He had been crowned homecoming king and had spoken about his trials and triumphs on the national stage. Blake was also transgender.

Transgender youth have the highest rate of suicide in the United States, with as high as 46% attempting suicide before the age of 24. That’s nearly half of all transgender people.

#Sticks&Stones is part of a larger body of work, #ArttoEndViolence, the titular piece winning an Award of Excellence at the California State Fair, 2015. #Sticks&Stones is a four piece set, watercolor, wax and ink depicting the murders and suicides of LGBT Americans.