This month, many supporters of LGBT rights around the country are calling for equality at pride parades. Some advocates are signing petitions to influence legislators, while others are gathering and writing information to spread awareness about LGBT issues. Meanwhile, many artists are using their craft as a way of expressing ideas about LGBT people.

Jeff Sheng, a photographer based in Los Angeles, is almost finished with a huge project portraying LGBT athletes. In his “Fearless” project, he has already photographed over 100 LGBT high school and college athletes from North America. Sheng has had exhibitions at various high schools and colleges, as well as the ESPN headquarters, the 2009 LGBT Human Rights Conference, and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Change.org writer Cristian Asher wrote about Sheng’s more recent “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” project, which is focused on photographing LGBT military personnel.

On the other side of the globe, an arts festival called Gaywise FESTival, which takes place in July, will organize UK artists who support LGBT equality to help address the needs of LGBT artists. The festival is a celebration of LGBT art and culture, and a visible recognition of the contributions of LGBT artists.

LGBT artists are using a wide range of mediums to express themselves and advocate for the LGBT community. Film-making is a popular way for LGBT artists to spread awareness about LGBT issues. For example, in one documentary called “Lost in the Crowd,” Susi Graf portrayed homeless queer youth struggling to survive on the streets of Manhattan. And LGBT singers are often involved in gay choirs where they sing about issues affecting LGBT people.

Artwork is a key component in the struggle for LGBT equality. While it doesn’t directly impact politics, it makes LGBT issues accessible to everyone, allowing people to learn about LGBT issues and become involved in the LGBT community. LGBT art is not just an outlet for artists to express themselves, but a valuable tool in LGBT advocacy.

Photo credit: brainchildvn

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