Karin Merx, 2019, Marsha P. Johnson, 40 x 60 cm, oil on canvas.

Her Story Told: Marsha P. Johnson, trans, one of the first campaigners for LGBTQi+ rights, humanity and equality. She is a role model for all those who have a difficulty staying true to who they really are. Difficult because within the community, our society and even their own communities acceptance is often extremely difficult and rejected. She had to sell her body to be able to earn money, not because she wasn’t able to work, but because she didn’t get a job due to being who she really was. Rejected from the system and from society, not accepted on all levels. One unfortunate morning she was found dead in the Hudson River in NY. Police never investigated her death properly, and up until this day it remains a mystery to what really happened to her.

Art brings awareness. Art changes the perceptive and gives hope. LGBTQi+ History Month 2019 shows that it is still necessary to bring awareness, and to educate. Since she started her campaigns the world hasn’t really changed and today it has even become more violent due to leaders who laid down the red carpet for people who are scared of what is unknown to them, who were brought up with limited believes.

This portrait is part of a series I paint of powerful LGBTQi+ women of colour, with their stories told in a beautiful book that includes pictures of the paintings. This book is meant for education, education for as well people of colour so they can see role models who took their struggle and did something amazing with it, and non-coloured people to learn about the amazing women and learn through their stories that equality is a necessity. As long as there is still racism and a non acceptance of LGBTQi+, education and campaigning remains extremely important.