Letting illustration tell the individual hopes behind the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. When words aren't enough, let art speak instead.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


"There is just one life for each of us: our own."

I have recently been discussing with my parents the importance for equal rights. My parents have always been very supportive of me and any partner that I have had, but I do not think they truly understand the need for everyone to be equal.

When I was a child I never thought for a million years that I could have a legitimate loving, compassionate, committed relationship with another man. Why would I? The only thing I really saw about gay men were that they often died of aids, they had flamboyant lifestyles, they went to clubs, they often did drugs, etc... The list was not a very positive one and yet I was willing to accept those fates because I knew I was gay.

As I trembled in fear in a free clinic to be tested for HIV a few days ago I made up my mind that I would do my part in our society to show gay children now that they never should settle for being a statistic. They have a bright future in this world with another person that loves them for who they are, and do not have to look for that person in every single man that comes into their life. My test results came back negative, but so often that is not the story for people. I want everyone to know that they do not have to fit into a stereotype. Will doesn't actually have to have a Grace! We, as the human race, are so diverse and that is beautiful! We have the ability to do incredible things. Someone's sexuality should never make them feel inferior to anyone else. As our world becomes more and more globally aware, we face difficult problems that cannot be alleviated without the true understanding of human equality.

Writer - Cole Burden - Manhattan, New York
Illustrator - Rosa Lee - Brooklyn, New York

Thursday, November 12, 2009


“Normality is the capacity to express your feelings. From the moment
that you don't fear to share your heart, you are a free person.”

-Paul Coelho

I hope that, one day, when I decide to start a family and raise children, that
none of my child's friends will ever feel
the need to question why he has two mommies.

Writer: PJ Verica - Media, Pennsylvania
Illustrator: Jacquelyn Hahn - Jersey City, New Jersey

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Helping Hand

“You understood that we must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones, but to break spirits — not only to inflict harm, but to instill fear. You understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights — both from unjust laws and violent acts.”
-President Barack Obama

Intolerance is a funny thing; once someone stands up against it, then more and more people begin to realize it's okay to stand up. This Wednesday, President Obama signed the "Matthew Shepard Act" into law, which extends the hate crime legislation to include those who are attacked because of their sexual orientation. This is both a small step and a big step for the gay community. Small because this is only the tip of the iceberg; enormous because this is not just a signature promoting protection, but promoting hope, equality, tolerance, and eventually, beyond simply being tolerant of differences to actually embracing those differences. Once people can see the tides turn away from hate, they can let the current begin to carry them too.

Writer/Illustrator: Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York

Monday, October 12, 2009

"I will sing that they shall hear"

"Equality has to become more than just a word."
Staceyann Chin
The National Equality March: October 11, 2009

This past Sunday, October 11, 2009, was the National Equality March: A march on the Capitol in Washington DC demanding the LGBT community's full and equal rights under the law.

We were there. 150,000 of us were there. There is no longer any need for any LGBT person to feel alone. For those who were there, the experience was breathtaking, invigorating, unifying, and inspiring. For those who were not there, you can now see, even if it is only on TV, the extent and the solidarity of your community. For the first time on Sunday, I truly believed, without a doubt, that this fight is not just a matter of waiting for the tides to change, but an opportunity to change the tides ourselves, and an opportunity that WILL change the tides.

My boyfriend Chris and I arrived in DC not knowing how many people to expect. No one knew how many to expect. A block away, we ran into a group of about 100 people and our hearts sank. This couldn't be it. Suddenly a roar erupted from a block away.

There in the park, people stretched on for as far as we could see in any direction, waiting for the march to start. There were people of every age, every race, every demographic, all standing together for one cause.

We jumped ahead to wait for the march to begin. Still from blocks away, the chants and screams echoed across the park and onto Pennsylvania Avenue. As the crowd streamed by the White House, it erupted into chants of "YES WE CAN!"

The march poured on down the streets, like a river winding through the capital.

As the street rounded a corner onto the main drive, we climbed on top of a double-decker tour bus and looked down at the sea of people flooding towards the Capitol.

We listened to the speeches of leaders, activists, actors, pop-stars, and Judy Shepard, who lost her son years ago to homophobic violence, and inspired the nation to protect their LGBT children. As we all stood and listened, their words echoed from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, to the White House, to every symbol of freedom, equality, and democracy that had built our nation. This is our time to speak, and to echo, and to fight. This is our time to be heard.

So now is the time, let your voice be heard.

“Those of us with the power to speak must speak, must march, to recreate the arc of our own history...Change is not only possible, it is inevitable."
-Staceyann Chin

You can watch the rest of her speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vJYcO0XiGU

Writer/Illustrator: Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York

(Title quote from "Were the World Mine")

Monday, October 5, 2009


"To understand everything makes one tolerant."
-Germaine de Stael

In 1986, at sixteen, I had my first experience working with a therapist. I told him I was there because I thought I was gay and didn’t know what to do. He quickly reassured me that I was not gay and that I was most likely going through a “phase” and had low self esteem. He prescribed rubber band therapy to “control” my “inappropriate” thoughts which involved:

A. wearing a rubber band around my wrist; and

B. flicking it whenever I had a homosexual thought.

Apparently he did not get the memo that the American Psychiatric Association had removed homosexuality as a “disorder” in 1973. Needless to say, the rubber band only gave me welts.

I am now a therapist and I look forward to the day that when “being gay” is not the reason someone comes to my office for help. But until then, I will do my best to mend the spirits of LGBT people bruised by ignorance and continue to do my part fighting inequality and promoting tolerance.

If only it was so simple to eradicate fear and bigotry with the snap of a rubber band………

From the illustrator-- if only it were. But it's not. It's patience and education and exposure with communication that will eventually eradicate the prejudice. It's like President Obama wrote in his memoir, "The Audacity of Hope": the point is not to solve every problem, but to make the effort, to engage and increase your understanding of others even if it's just a little. Little by little, over generations, the change takes place as the understanding grows.

Writer - Brett Kennedy - Manhattan, New York
Illustrator - Sara Dilliplane - Boston, Massachusetts

Monday, September 28, 2009

"I can't reach you..."

“All men are created equal.”
-Thomas Jefferson

For two people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to not have their union recognized by the highest authority in the land is a breach of civil rights and a tragedy that we as citizens of the United States cannot allow to continue.

Writer/Illustrator - Todd Rawson - Manhattan, New York

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Wonder

“One of the hardest things in life is having words
in your heart that you can’t utter.”
-James Earl Jones

I grew up in a suburban town full of traditional, right-leaning people. I came out to my friends and family when I got to college because I was too afraid to come out before then. When I was 16, my father died. He never knew one of the most important things about me. I wonder, almost every day, if he knew...if he wondered...what he would've thought. I hope that soon, we don't have to be afraid to "come out of the closet" so no one ever has to keep that part of themselves from someone they love, and live the rest of their life wondering.

Writer - PJ Verica - Media, Pennsylvania
Illustrator - Danielle McManus - Westchester, New York

Sunday, August 2, 2009


"There is no prejudice that the work of art does not finally overcome."
-André Gide

Equality is achievable if we keep our hopes alive, because the minute
we back down is the minute they'll think they've won!

Writer - Mimi Treglia - Long Beach, California
Illustrator - Audrey Hawkins - Manhattan, New York

Monday, July 6, 2009

Love On the Scales of Justice

"The value of love will always be stronger than the value of hate."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

My illustration is about trying to quantify and weigh an abstraction like love. How can the law say that a couple's love isn't valid and in some way not equal to another couple's? We can try to weigh them on the scales, but in the end, it is futile, and it diminishes us. Anyone should be able to have their relationship legalized, if that's what they want.

Writer/Illustrator - Audrey Hawkins - Manhattan, New York

Monday, June 29, 2009


"What cannot be achieved in one lifetime will happen when
one lifetime is joined to another."
- Harold Kushner

Yesterday was the Gay Pride Parade in New York City, and it was my first Pride event. Up until yesterday, I never really understood the relevance of Pride. It was my thought that people already understand that yes, we're here and we're queer, but now it's our job to help them get used to it. And the vocal extreme fringe minorities that I thought of when Gay Pride came to mind, were not the way to do it.

After going to the parade, yesterday, my feelings began to change. I began to see that Pride isn't about flaunting yourself, it's about camaraderie. It's about being able to go out and see the overwhelming sense of unity and support that are present in the gay community. Being able to step out anywhere in the city and feel a sense of belonging, and yes, Pride in oneself and one's community, is a wonderful feeling. A feeling that I hope soon, everyone will be able to experience. So although this was only my first Pride Parade, it won't be my last!

Writer/Illustrator - Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Holding Hands

"Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is."
- Maxim Gorky

Even though holding hands is such an innocent and affectionate gesture, it can still inspire great amounts of intolerance and hate. I've been spat at and had insults hurled at me, simply for holding hands with another man while walking together on the street. I've often had to question whether it was okay to hold hands with someone, out of fear of what might happen in the wrong neighborhood. In most places today in Manhattan, I can walk hand in hand with another man and not feel strange about it, but that is not the case everywhere in the country, and it wasn’t always the case here. Some gay couples in the 1970’s were even arrested for holding hands in public in the West Village. Through decades of hard work and perseverance, members of the LGBT community have made it safer for same-sex couples to hold hands, but only in safe enclaves such as Manhattan. It is my hope that through the continuing fight for equality it will always be okay to hold the hand of the one you love, no matter where you are.

Writer/Illustrator - Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York


Hello and welcome to "A Picture For A Thousand Voices!"

Through all the constant talk about the gay marriage amendments across the country, I feel like there has been very little conversation about why the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) equal rights movement is important. I've even had friends of mine who support gay rights ask me "If a civil union can afford all of the same rights as a marriage, then what's the big deal if the name is different?" The point that I would like to make is that marriage equality is not the end goal of the equal rights movement, it is merely a stepping stone. The road to equality means something different to each individual across the country as part of a move towards acceptance and equal treatment within the community.

"A Picture For A Thousand Voices" is a project that seeks to help establish a dialogue between members of the LGBT community and the straight community about why the equal rights movement is a fight worth fighting. Since words have often been falling on deaf ears, I would hope that perhaps through art and illustration, these ideas can be better understood by both the straight and LGBT communities.

If you are an illustrator, ask yourself or your LGBT friends what their hopes for equal rights are and send me (evan@evanturk.com) your artwork. If you’re not an artist, send in your story, and someone can help illustrate your hope for equal rights (this includes non-gay members of the gay community!). If you are an artist and would like to be involved but don't have a story to illustrate, e-mail me and I'll find you one.

The idea of equal rights is about understanding others, not just tolerating them. If we can show others, and remind ourselves, why this fight is important, it will be that much easier to win.

Thank you, and Happy Pride Week!

-Evan Turk