Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+
Initiatives T-Shirt Design Contest

2023 Winner

Travis Richard (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) Oglala Lakota College, Business Management Administration Major

Colored pencils, #2 pencil, ruler, one 8.5 in X 11 in white copier paper.

Artist Statement:
I am more of a beader than I am a drawing artist. When I took Drawing 1 with Keith Brave Heart, I did not realize I had the talent to even draw. I’m thankful for Keith on bringing my talent out in me. I have siblings that create with pencils and paints. I never once could draw. My mindset was always beading.

My design meaning focused on the indigenous individuals that struggle with “who they are” or “coming out”. Many of our youth, along with adults, face obstacles and challenges on how they want to be accepted. Many of them struggle or deal with friends and family members that do not accept a person(s) being LGBTQ. Some individuals do have issues with family members that do not accept them for who they are. They get outed which can lead to them being kicked out of their homes and suicide.

I also thought of the violence, abuse, and missing and murdered LGBTQ indigenous loved ones when creating this drawing. No matter what mishaps we encounter, Thunkasila (Creator) does not judge and the sun shines upon us letting us know that as long as we all breath the same air and share the same sunlight and night skies, we are all equal.

Growing up I knew I was gay. I come from a family of military people who loved me for who I was. Everyone I had in my life loved me for who I am. I went to school dealing with my bullies, which made me strong. I became a big brother/sister to those that couldn’t defend themselves, in which I was speaking with my heart. I became their ray of sunshine. My heart is with everyone no matter who they are.

-Travis Richard

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