COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Transgender rights are at the forefront of conversation in Ohio in both the statehouse and in schools.
On Saturday, members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community gathered to show that trans people are humans just like every else through art.
A new art exhibit called “This is Trans” at Stonewall Columbus opened Saturday, featuring 74 portraits of trans people from around Ohio, with a goal of showing others that people who identify as trans are just being themselves.
“I stopped trying to be someone for everyone else and I became who I am for myself,” said artist Vincent-Natasha Gay, or NV.
NV spent more than a year finding trans people like themselves, taking their pictures, then putting together the exhibit for a reason.
“This gallery is curated to show that being trans simply just means to be human and there is really nothing to fear about it,” NV said. “It’s really just us trying to be our authentic selves.”
NV said they put out a call on social media for trans people to be featured, and answers flooded in from people they’d never met – 74 pictures of 74 different people, each with their own story and background.
“This gallery, it kind of highlights how different and diverse we are and you can’t lump us all into one group,” said Shannon Schneider, president of Queer Climbing Columbus, a non-profit organization that helps eliminate access to outdoor and climbing education, gear, and community.
Transgender rights have become a hot topic with Ohio lawmakers. On Wednesday, a hearing was held on House Bill 454, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act which would, if passed, prohibit minors from having procedures to alter their sex.
“We should allow people to express themselves, find themselves,” they said. “We should allow people to try on a hat to see if something fits, see if the pronouns fit correctly. Find themselves – that’s what it’s really all about.”
“Having a gallery like this, with so many trans people that are out and proud, is kind of its own form of protest and showing that we are going to continue to exist,” Schneider said.
The exhibit will be displayed at Stonewall Columbus through the end of the year.