A mural created by a Filipino-American artist promoting gender and equality awareness was unveiled recently at the Transgender Health and Wellness Center in Cathedral City, California.
Artist Marconi Calindas-Cafege said he was inspired by two main themes for the mural: the leader of the Stonewall riot in New York in 1969 and one of nature’s symbols of transformation.
“If you look at the mural, there’s a portrait of Marsha P. Johnson, and the butterfly. One thing that the center asked me to do is to paint a huge butterfly so the kids and visitors here can take a photo,” said Calindas-Cafege.
The center provides services to the transgender, intersex and gender-diverse community, linking individuals to professionals seeking medical and mental health care, legal services, housing, employment and other resources. Executive Director Thomi Clinton said their work could be highly political but ultimately boils down to saving people.
“Allowing people to live authentically and reach their highest potential is really what life is about. When we attack someone if they are LGBT, that doesn’t stop there. They may start attacking people who they think are LGBT,” Clinton said.
The 3-dimensional mural, which Calindas-Cafege painted over the course of two weeks, was unveiled to the public just days before the alleged murder of a transgender woman in Dallas.
Marconi said artists now need to be true and brave.
“Create and create. Don’t think of anything else. If they wanna create political themes, decorative arts, just be themselves and everything will connect and follow,” Calindas-Cafege said.