We all expect to be treated as equals, to have support from the law and not live in fear of persecution for being true to ourselves. Yet these are serious concerns facing the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community worldwide.
Russian law encourages hatred towards the LGBT community. Not only is it illegal to publish propaganda of homosexuality, it is also against the law to make neutral comments about the topic. Only negativity is allowed to be expressed when discussing ‘non-trdaitional’ relationships. The LGBT community are often likened to pedophiles and made out to be ‘perverted scum’. It is no wonder then that groups, targeting homosexuals, have formed to ‘hunt’ and physically abuse this community.
Even in America (whose own equality rights vary massively) organisations express support for the Russian governments recent legislation. Arizona has recently attempted to pass a law to protect religious freedom, this law allows people to discriminate and refuse service to gay people.
As close as the Republic of Ireland we can see similar cases of discrimination. Some employment laws don’t have basic protection for gay people. You can be fired within the medical and educational field if the institution believes their employees sexual orientation conflicts with their ethos.
Here in the UK we live within a society where our basic rights are protected. Therefore it is easy for us to be unaware of the struggles the LGBT community face abroad.
Only 6% of the population are estimated to be gay, which is a relatively small demographic. I aim to produce a piece of work that stimulates an emotional response, creating sympathy strong enough to gain proactive support from people outside of the LGBT community.
Taking inspiration from the artists Tammy Rae Carland and Derek Jarman, I’m going to create a portrait of this demographic, a portrait that doesn’t feature a human form. I don’t think its appropriate to express these issues using the homosexual body. This would restrict the issues to the LGBT community, whereas I want it relate to a wider audience. Therefore I will use objects as symbolic representations, that address these issues, such as the piece I’ve created below.
In this series I have chosen to use keys as a reference to domesticated living. Being able to feel safe within your own environment with a partner you choose goes generally unquestioned in this country. Yet this is widely unimaginable to gay people living within Russia.
Given the time to further develop this piece I will use other objects as symbolic representations of this inequality. These photograms will join together to make up a larger scale piece that addresses multiple issues surrounding conditions of the LGBT community on a global scale.
I have developed this strict visual formula, inspired by the Bechers work, in order to unite the photograms together, as a way of creating a visual metaphor for uniting support for these issues. It also gives some indication to the diversity of challenges that face the LGBT community.