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Queer And Trans People Are Here

November 22, 2022

Queer and trans people are here. We’ve always been here. And we deserve to be here. Nothing will ever change that.

As we pass Transgender Day of Remembrance and the hate-filled killing of five LGBTQ+ people in Colorado, we’re also coming to the end of a year where more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced by legislators across 36 states.

Over the last couple of days my memory has been drawn back to the summer of 2021. That’s when local artist Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon) installed the massive Pride rainbow yarnbomb you see pictured in this post at 5th and South Streets here in Philly. For me, it’s consoling and empowering to think about a public art declaration of queerness like that in this moment. It’s small, but really not.

As you can see in these photos, this artwork was installed by Nicole with the support of about a dozen fellow Philly creatives, including a number of us who are part of the LGBTQ+ community along with many allies. You’ll also see film equipment in the photos, because this was all being documented by local filmmakers, Ugly Art for a five-minute short film, titled A Light Reflection. I blogged about that beautiful film when it was released in February of this year, which you can see here. The film focuses on the struggles of an individual artist and how community coming together worked to inspire and uplift her and her work.

Sunday night, after learning about Colorado, I posted the four sentences that opened this post on all my Streets Dept social media channels. I wanted to post those words with these imagines of Nicole’s Pride rainbow, but I couldn’t find them on my own blog. Disappointed and initially pretty confused, I then remembered that while I was there for this installation and (clearly) took photos, that I only posted the Ugly Art film and never my own photos from the day. I’m fixing that with this post. And I’m glad that folks (myself included) will be able to search for these images in the future.

Over the last few days, I’ve also been thinking a lot about some of the local LGBTQ+ histories told at a recent panel discussion led by Jacen Bowman, King Mother of Supreme Moncler. As we announced at that event hosted at the Barnes Foundation on November 3rd, Streets Dept Walls is currently working with Jacen, artist Nile Livingston, and Mural Arts Philadelphia to create Philadelphia’s first mural honoring and celebrating the city’s decades-long history of Ballroom culture.

While the Pride rainbow artwork is now gone. It was always meant to be temporary. I’m so proud to be working with some amazing people on a project to permanently center a piece of LGBTQ+ history in Philly’s public space. You’ll be hearing much more about that Ballroom mural in the coming months, so stay tuned for that.

I’m unsettled by what happened this weekend. I’m unsettled every time I hear the news of violence towards trans and queer people. I’m unsettled my the news of so much anti-LGBTQ legislation being created by elected representatives.

Queer and trans people are here. We’ve always been here. And we deserve to be here. Nothing will ever change that.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 23, 2022 6:33 am

    Great post and photos! I remember driving by the rainbow and being so inspired by it~ Perfect time to revisit…

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