The Queer Portrait Project tells the stories of people in the queer community in my paint and in their words. I am painting queer-identified people and having each person write a short bio to accompany the painting. I am painting people I know and people I don’t know. I am painting gay people, bi people, trans people, non-binary people, old people, young people, outgoing people, shy people, tall people, short people…queer people. I seek to illustrate the diversity, breadth, and variety that is the queer community. I like the thought of art used as a connection and a bridge in this tight-knit, yet also disparate community. We sometimes subdivide ourselves according age, race, gender, and class. I hope to show, in the most basic of ways -images and words- how art can be action for change. We have the power to strengthen and sustain each other: as queers, as artists, as people.

If you are interested in posing for the project, send an email to jen@jenclausen.com

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I am queer and I remind myself every day that queers are my family. For me, being queer isn’t just synonymous with LGBTQ. Queerness is also about making a commitment to working for social justice, even – and often most importantly – when this means engaging in struggles that don’t seem to affect us directly as individuals. Queers are not complacent. I also believe that we have profound capacities to care for each other and ourselves as we work to bring joy, peace and badassness into the world. I grew up in a small northern Michigan town where I first witnessed how complicated it can be to balance visibility and safety, especially in the absence of queer community. In my adult life, I am grateful to be out, vocal and in a position to foreground issues of relevance to queers in my work as an activist-academic, educator, writer and community organizer. Queers rock my world.

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