As part of an ambitious poster project spearheaded by Forward Together called Transgender Day of Resilience, New York-based genderqueer artist and illustrator Bishakh Som teamed up with the Colorado organization Buried Seedz of Resistance and its Director of Youth Organizing Cecelia Kluding-Rodriguez to honor two-spirit history and community in the Colorado region.
The core of the poster features three Colorado trans / two-spirit people who died because of anti-trans violence, with whom BSeedz has had longstanding relationships.
The project hopes to expand the scope of Transgender Day of Remembrance to encompass the uplifting of trans people, especially trans women and femmes of color.
"What the poster is talking about is specific to indigenous culture from that part of Colorado," Som told BuzzFeed News, asserting the importance of cultural specificity in looking at gender-nonconforming identities. "For me that was a great experience, learning about two-spirit culture, and how it weaves together with current trans activism."
Kluding-Rodriguez is thrilled with how the poster turned out. "I’m nearly speechless. It’s absolutely beautiful. Literally in awe," she said. Kluding-Rodriguez added that Som's inspired interpretation of indigenous imagery and their tribute to victims of violence in the local community were the most deeply moving elements of the poster.
"We were all really inspired by being able to be connected to ancestors who at one time or another weren’t persecuted or shamed or subjected to violence because of their gender," Kluding-Rodriguez said.
Seven more posters will be unveiled tomorrow as part of the Trasngender Day of Resilience Project, each representing a collaboration between an artist and a local organization engaged in transgender advocacy.