Queer Everywhere: The graffiti artists telling you its OK to be yourself
New York, Paris, Brighton, Shoreditch, Birmingham, Manchester. These are just some of the places that the group The Masked Muskequeers have showcased their TMMQ graffiti and stickers.
These art pieces are part of the R.I.P Gender Roles movement and the Brum Pride Trail started by The Masked Muskequeers who want to look further into how damaging these gender roles can be on young people and adults. The societal gender roles that some children are raised into believing—like girls should be shy and play with Barbie dolls while the boys should be brave and build Lego structures—are not what this group wants children to be taught today. Also, children who don’t conform to specific gender roles and so are having a hard time in school because they are seen as weird or different.
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Nearly two months later and it hasn't been sabotaged this time. Awesome :). We crammed 9 pride flags into this piece... can you name them all? #queergraffiti #brightongraffiti #ukgraffiti #stayqueer #pride #lgbt #urbanart #graffiti #transpride #queerpride #brighton #themaskedmuskequeers
Gender roles are holding back the children of this generation and the aim of The Masked Muskequeers is to put these gender roles aside and allow the children growing up in this society to be whatever they choose to be. So many children today have such little confidence in themselves and these gender roles, that can sometimes be forced upon children, can push them to feel and act in certain ways that aren't always beneficial to them.
There is so much negative press around transgender people with headlines appearing around gender-neutral bathrooms, children being raised without specific genders and political opinions on transgender people being in the services; this is making people who don’t conform to traditional gender roles feel misunderstood and alone. The aim of this group’s street artwork is to bring a smile to the faces of other LGBT+ people and share the message that it’s OK to be yourself.
Their manifesto on their website discusses how important it is to them to document queer history so that they can show the rest of the world where we came from and the shadows that they had to congregate in. As of 1/9/2017, same-sex marriage is legal in only 25 countries but homosexual activity is still illegal in 75 countries. As much of a huge step this is, more change and legalisation needs to happen. Love doesn't have a gender.
"Queer Everywhere. I think you know what we’re talking about. We’re getting it out there."
One of The Masked Muskequeers latest projects is called The Brum Pride Trail which consists of 45 marked locations around the city of Birmingham which are notable historic LGBT+ areas. Each location is marked with a coloured rectangle that has a person inside filled with the colours of the pride flag. You will find them in lots of notable locations that existed from the 50’s until today—such as gay bars, cafes and support centres—which are all part of the history of Birmingham’s gay scene.
Inspired by street graffiti—especially the one from Birmingham's art quarter Digbeth—these artists have started to be recognised for their inspiring work and as activists and positive role models for transgender youth. The three artists involved in this movement keep their identities secret but you can still follow their tags TranArchy, QueerAF and Non-Binary Boy.
Lots of people on social media have been documenting the artwork they have found around the different cities, which has been getting a lot of praise:
Interesting and awesome stickers about the city centre at the moment. pic.twitter.com/q4CvY4huGk
— Dr Gem Commane (@GemCommane) November 20, 2017
— Brian Krijgsman (@BrianKrijgsman) October 23, 2017