project
Strength, Changes & Patience:
On Queer Representation and "The Closet"

Type of work
Illustration

Strength, Changes, and Patience is a series of digital illustrations portraying a few of my closeted queer friends. This series represents a complex layering of stories and experiences based on the courage and vulnerability of queer people as they navigate and explore what it means to be queer. 
Throughout this project, I interviewed my friends and received their thoughts on "the closet" and what that currently means to them. Despite my friends’ unique journeys, they all have similar stories of embodying admirable strength in character, undergoing profound changes in their identities, and exercising an immense amount of patience to their family members and peers.
The spectrum of queer expression in these illustrations reimagines what it means to belong, as it includes a diversity of experiences, bodies, and identities.
I wanted to capture the idea of queer representation becoming more inclusive, prevalent, and accepted in a positive manner by transitioning from a darker to lighter background as well as increasing the size and height of the figures.
Considering my position as a cis-heterosexual (cishet) ally, it was important to decenter myself as I represented my friends’ experiences and thoughts around the idea of “the closet”. Each of my friends expressed that “the closet” is a spectrum and transitionary space that both restricts their identity and offers them protection from ostracization. The coexistence of these two aspects creates a tension that often places my friends in a position where they “must continually negotiate and fight for the courage to truthfully represent [their lives]” (Weber, 2011, p. 153), identities, values and beliefs. In response to this, I used the medium of illustration as a vehicle for my queer friends to express their identity and stories within the safety and trust of our friendship. 
works cited
Weber, S. (2011). What My Women’s College Taught Me About Being Enthusiastically Queer. Counterpoints, 397, 151–156. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42981065  
Back to Top