“We are not viewed as people – we are treated as ‘deviants.'”
25-year-old artist Jovan Israel is making it his mission to create brightly colored artwork that showcases the Mexican LGBTQ community in a positive light.
The Mexican government is trying to pass same-sex marriage all around the country and has just established a set of laws protecting gay rights. But, members of the LGBTQ community still face multiple challenges within the devoutly Catholic country. Rates of violence against the community are the amongst the world’s highest with an estimate of 120 transphobic murders between 2008 and 2013.
On top of the physical violence, Jovan states that there is no representation of the LGBTQ community in the Mexican media. “We are a country that does not consider our ‘minorities,’” he told HuffPost Mexico. “There is no inclusion in mass media, and, if there is, it is limited such that it generalizes these identities.”
The subjects of Jovan’s artwork is inspired by dreams, ex-lovers, friends, or “people who don’t even exist.” He aims to explore the lives of the Mexican LGBTQ community, of which he belongs to. Jovan believes that his artwork empowers the community rather than silencing them or tearing them down. “We are not viewed as people: We are treated as ‘deviants,’ ‘freaks’ or ‘sickos,'” he says. “Someone must take the responsibility of representing the other side, and representing the thousands of ways which we can actually be. It is of the utmost importance to show people that there is a world beyond heterosexuality, the binary, and all the imposed identities.”