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‘Queer Con’ art display pays homage to important LGBTQ+ figures

Dr. Anne Wheeler’s fall semester class, HNRS 192: Bars, Bikes and a Revolution focused on studying the importance of historic gay periods. These projects were done by students as a visual representation of events and people that helped to shape the future for the LGBTQ+ community.


Lily Gould created this portrait of Leslie Feinberg (right), a Transgender and Genderfluid activist of the 1980s-1990s. Feinberg used their voice in protests, speeches, and writing to express their ideas about gender identity. They also published a novel in 1993 called Stone Butch Blues, giving an honest perspective about someone who doesn’t fall into any of the categories society deems acceptable.


Angelina Cohen created a work of mixed media art to celebrate Will Ninja (left). Ninja was a pioneer in dance and “Vogueing”. He also founded House of Ninja, a dance troupe that welcomed young people of all backgrounds and identities. After passing from AIDS at age 46, his creation House of Ninja still lives on and advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness.


Emily Tanning made a crocheted portrait of Marsha P. Johnson (right). Johnson was a transgender rights and AIDS activist who struggled with discrimination and violence for dressing like a woman. She continued to express herself and fought for LGBTQ+ rights. Along with her friend Sylvia Rivera, she founded a trans activist group STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries).

Nicole Henkel produced this artwork of James Baldwin’s work, Giovanni’s Room (left). An American author in the 1950s, Baldwin wrote pieces that captured the racism in the country. He was also a gay man, and one of the few that fought vocally in the Civil Rights Movement. His book, Giovanni’s Room, focused on the idea of being afraid to be who you are, so much that it makes it impossible. Still today, Baldwin’s work has had a great impact on the perspectives of LGBTQ+ and race issues in society.


Photos from Springfield Student

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