If your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a fucking hard-ass road. – Ru Paul
Queer issues are important to me. I volunteer at a youth organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning (LGBTIQ) youth between ages 13-22. At this organization we have “Butterfly Rules” that keep our space safe and welcoming. Literally they are pieces of paper cut into the shape of a butterfly, beautifully colored and decorated, have a written rule on them, and displayed on the walls of the center. Examples of rules are: Labels are for Food, No Weapons or Violence, Pay it Forward etc. My idea originated from these butterflies.
Now that you have a bit of context, I need to take a moment to get on my soapbox. I am throwing caution to the wind at risk of appearing as an asshole or hypocrite for the LGBTIQ community I strongly advocate for in my community.
To my brothers and sisters, we as a queer community need to choose our battles. We need to learn to have tougher skin, assume people are coming from a place of good intentions, we need to get our resilience back, stop making enemies and realize the importance of our allies, and take control of the things we can take control of.
In my opinion the most important battles we should be concerned about as a community are: violence, employment discrimination, poverty and health care.
A world where we no longer have Transgender Day of Remembrance, day to remember our transgender brothers and sisters whom have been slain out of hatred, is what we should be fighting for. A world where we don’t have to worry about being out at work, is a what we should be fighting for. A world where families aren’t kicking out their children for coming out, is a what we should be fighting for. A world where we can not only have health care, but find a doctor who is caring and understanding of our personal health and well-being is a world we should be fighting for.
This is why I was inspired to create this piece. The message I want to impart to each individual in the queer community in today’s world: choose your battles. This is a lesson I learned as a young adult from a mentor because as she explained we don’t have enough time and energy to fight all the small stuff.
Below is original concept art for this drawing. It is more accurate of what an actual “Butterfly Rule” looks like. I really liked the idea, but wasn’t happy with the sketch. You can see my process on the bottom I wanted to go a different direction and angle.
The final image I created entirely in Adobe Photoshop. It was my intention to make the butterfly cute and simple. The body of the butterfly is inspired by the Transgender flag, and wings are inspired by the Pride flag. The white images in the purple part of the wing are my interpretation of fist while also being a shape you might actually find on a butterfly. One version had the female symbol coming out of the wings to make a statement of women’s rights, but I decided to take them out because I think women have their shit together. I really wanted to make a statement to my queer community.