Transgender Artist's Controversial Work Earns Honor
18-year-old transgender high school student, Jasper Finn Behrends developed his AP Studio Art portfolio to focus on the resonating themes of sexuality, gender, and body dysphoria. While these are all topics that the young artist holds near, Jasper's school administrators did not approve of the artist's queer perspective and colorful voice. His art was questioned for depicting topless images, even though other students' work had never been targeted.
Jasper shared with Pride
After starting my concentration, the school vice principal came to me after my art teacher informed the administration about my 'potentially sensitive' concentration subject. He said that although he had 'no problem' with the LGBTQ theme, there is a 'time and a place' for 'these things' and that it did not belong in public schools. After a lot of arguing, I just decided to ignore everyone and keep doing it. I just kept making art and didn’t listen to the administration. I wasn’t able to put my work in any of the school art shows, I wasn’t able to even show my parents, but I was proud of what I was doing.
Following his heart, Jasper received high honors on his portfolio exhibit, demonstrating there is always room for individuality, invention, and ingenuity.
Take a look at beauty of Jasper's work and why it is so important to embrace one another and celebrate creativity that others can identify with.
See the rest of Jasper Behrend's portfolio
Bullying is very common in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. Insults such as queer, gay, fairy, fag, and pansy are thrown at kids daily.
Having had personal experience of queer friends taking their lives or attempting to take their lives due to bullying has left marks on my life, I was inspired to create this piece.
Throughout my transition, it often feels like I am mentally transitioned but the rest of my body has yet to catch up to my identity.
The sunflowers represent the mental growth and lack of physical growth of my identity.
This was the first piece of my concentration which created inspiration for the rest of the collection. It is the most basic form of dysphoria and disconnection that a trans person can face.
This piece signifies that gender is not simply anatomy nor is it physical appearance. Gender identity goes further than the surface.
This piece is a self-portrait that shows the raw and personal moment when a transgender person takes off their binder. It is a happy moment due to the relief of the pain, but it is also a moment filled with dysphoria and often grief.
I often feel trapped due to my assigned gender and biological genitals. It not only makes me feel like I am missing out on a lot of experiences, but also makes me feel isolated and confined within my biological sex.
This piece represents these feelings.
Most of the pieces in my concentration highlight specific hardships of LGBTQ+ people. Being queer, especially being transgender, is often seen as "confusing" or "complicated" to those who are not LGBTQ+. This piece shows that being queer is, at its foundations, simple and pure. Love is what brings us together.