Justice

This Trans Man's Queer Art Was Deemed Inappropriate by His School, but He Fought Back

Jasper Finn is an 18-year-old transgender man who recently graduated from high school.

 

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While the final year of high school can be a stressful, challenging period, Finn faced a unique challenge: his school tried to censor him.

Finn is an artist who creates works reflective of his experiences as a queer individual navigating his identity.

As a part of his AP Studio Art class, Finn chose to create art on gender, sexuality, and gender dysphoria. The resulting works spoke to the isolation and hardship that come with living as a queer person.

Trangender student and artist Jasper Finn stands up against school.

Unfortunately, his school did not agree with what he was doing and tried censor his work, deeming it "inappropriate" by virtue of depicting nudity.

"After starting my concentration, the school vice principal came to me after my art teacher informed the administration about my 'potentially sensitive' concentration subject,” Finn told PRIDE. “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."

Finn didn’t yield to his school’s demands—and showed why officials there were wrong.

"I just kept making art and didn’t listen to the administration," Finn explained to PRIDE. "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."

This effort paid off in myriad ways: after submitting his portfolio to be graded by the College Board, he received the highest possible score for his work.

Moreover, his work will be included in the 2017 - 2018 AP Studio Art Exhibit intended to honor and celebrate students who participated in the program.

Episodes like this highlight why it’s important to amplify and celebrate marginalized voices.

Time and time again, mainstream society silences marginalized voices. While Finn’s situation might seem small, it points to why 23 percent of all LGBTQ people are not open about their identity with friends and family.

Another recent example of this can be found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision not to size up the LGBTQ population, despite requests from several federal agencies. Such an omission could lead to funding cuts for programs that aid the LGBTQ community.

As Meghan Maury of the National LGBTQ Task Force told ATTN: earlier this year, “If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?”

Trangender student and artist Jasper Finn stands up against school.

Finn is proud of his win and, in many ways, finds what he went through as validation for his point of view and his articulation of the queer experience. "I will definitely keep creating queer art," Finn told PRIDE. "Art is just materialized passion, and my passions stand with the queer community."