18-year-old artist Jasper Behrends just gave his northern Virginia high school the queer, creative clapback of the year.
While executing a yearend project for his advanced placement studio art program, the female-to-male transgender artist's work, which centers around gender, sexuality and body dysphoria, was deemed 'inappropriate' by school administrators.
Speaking about his work with Pride.com, Jasper explains, "I often feel trapped due to my assigned gender and biological genitals. It not only makes me feel like I am missing out on a lot of experiences, but also makes me feel isolated and confined within my biological sex."
Being able to discuss and work through these feelings through art, however, gives Jasper a sense of clarity and solace. Because of this, he was thoroughly caught off guard when his school asked him to "tone down" his work. He explained to Pride.com:
"...the school vice principal came to me after my art teacher informed the administration about my 'potentially sensitive' concentration subject.
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."
Jasper explains that after "a lot of arguing," he decided to ignore the censorship attempts and move forward with creating art that spoke to him and nourished his soul, essentially, responding with a resounding 'hell naw.'
"I just kept making art and didn’t listen to the administration. 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."
After submitting his work, Jasper earned the highest possible score on his Studio Art Exhibit. He then shared his story with Twitter where he received an outpouring of love and support, raking in more than 13,000 retweets for his accomplishment and creations.
my schools administration told me to stop doing my concentration on gender and sexuality bc it was "inappropriate." but i didn't. and now... pic.twitter.com/qrEHb8lavm— j (@enjoIras_) July 12, 2017
His work is viewable on his portfolio where he further explains the inspiration, meaning and importance of his explorative gender and sexuality-driven art.
Creating colorful and captivating work centered around LGBTQ issues, it's easy to see why he received a perfect score. Kudos, Jasper. You did that!