Friday, April 3, 2009

An Honor to Honor Young Gay Rights Activists

My friend Naomi is organizing this Gay/Straight Youth Summit for kids in Reno tomorrow. She has been working on this project for months with the assistance of some great young advocates that she wanted to honor with a special award. So, much to my surprise, she contacted me and asked if I could make them a piece of jewelry with a gay rights theme. Sure I could!

Naomi and I protested together at a couple of rallies after Prop 8 passed in California. I had made a lapel pin that expressed my frustration with the inequity that we as gay American citizens face. My sign that I carried in marches around the State capitol, in San Francisco and in our home state of Nevada displayed the same symbol. Not equal, not yet. (c)2008 (Disclaimer: I know that this isn't a not equal sign. The slash goes the other direction. I corrected that, but this is the only photo of the pin I have right now.)

I wanted the pieces for the gay youth advocates to be more positive than that, so I came up with another concept with some of the same symbolism, but a more hopeful approach. It felt good to make those pieces for such a worthy cause. I am honored to be able to be a part of honoring youth in service to their community.

Lapel pin for Gay Youth Advocate and Straight Youth Ally

The symbolism of this design involves the following components:

The circle with the equal sign incorporated expresses that we are all part of a whole and we are all equal. The inverted triangle is a reference to the gay rights symbol derived from the pink triangles emblazoned on the sleeves of gays in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and early 40's.

The pin is made of sterling silver with a copper accent. The copper triangle is oxidized by flame to bring out the bright colors. As the gay flame lights up and brings out the color in our world.

Designed by Susan Mika Coyote of Suz Coyote Studio

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