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.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I love Steven so much. If people or the world can not give me the chance and the freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless.
-Tiwonge Chimbalanga


Tiwonge and Steven were released from prison by Malawi's president on "humanitarian grounds." This is wonderful news, and although their future as gay citizens of Malawi is still uncertain, it is great cause to celebrate for them! Hopefully this is just the first step in more gains for gay rights, and human rights, in Africa.


On May 20th, 2010 in Malawi, two men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were sentenced to 14 years of hard labor because they had thrown themselves an engagement party. The official reason for the arrest was for "unnatural acts and gross indecency". The two men did not commit any lewd, public sexual acts or harm anyone, they simply had a ceremony to celebrate the fact that they are in love. They did not even intend the ceremony as a plea for gay rights, they just did not know what could happen to them as a result. Tiwonge said earlier this year in an interview, "I just wanted people to know we were in love."

The Malawian flag was created on July 6, 1964 when Malawi gained independence from Britain. The flag consists of three colors: Black, red, and green.

The black is symbolic of the black African people.

The red is symbolic of the blood shed in their fight for freedom.

The green is symbolic of nature.

Are Tiwonge and Steven any less black? Any less African?

Wasn't it also their freedom that was being fought for?

Who is to decide what is "natural"?

The rising sun on the flag is a symbol of the dawning of freedom and hope within the African continent. How can freedom truly be dawning, in Africa or anywhere else, when people are arrested for being in love? What do these symbols mean when they don't apply to every person within that country? What do our own symbols of freedom mean in light of the fact that not everyone can enjoy them?

Read the full article from the New York Times here:
Gay Couple in Malawi Receives Maximum Sentence

Writer/Illustrator: Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Love You

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no
right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of
rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities
(and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
-Ayn Rand

(From an actual e-mail correspondence between Steven and Torrey)

all i have to do
is be near you
to escape
to breath
to release
to revive
to find me.

all i have to do
is look at your face
and i know that dreams do come true-
for this i thank you.
for this i thank God.

all i have to do,
is look in your eyes
and i know that i have a whole new world,
a new place,
where i am free
where i am loved
where i am safe...

Writer - Steven & Torrey - Manhattan, New York
Illustrator - Julia Sverchuk - Brooklyn, New York

Sunday, May 2, 2010

American Dream

You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the
other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
Clarence Darrow

Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California Constitution which limited the definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman, taking rights away from same-sex couples that had been granted to them earlier that year.

The following is an excerpt from the testimony of Helen Zia, a journalist and a lesbian, from the ongoing trial towards the reversal of Proposition 8 and the reinstatement of same-sex marriage in California. The trial was, thankfully, transcribed by the site: Prop8TrialTracker.com because cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. Zia describes how her life changed when she was granted a real "marriage" rather than a "domestic partnership."

Helen Zia: Difference between night and day having marriage certificate than Domestic Partnership. Suddenly within those six months between time we were married to time invalidated, we had taste of being out of closet, of not being on back of bus. We tasted freedom. Our families related together quite differently. For brief moment in time, we experienced equality. We could go to fountain that was not for Gays and Lesbians only and we tasted water there and it was sweeter there. Our families came together in ways Domestic Partnership could not.

You can read the rest of her testimony HERE.

Writer: Helen Zia (Testimony in trial)
Illustrator: Evan Turk - Manhattan, New York