Gay in Trumpland
As we count down to the mid-term elections in the United States, photographer Ron Amato has released a new series of work titled Gay in Trumpland.
I caught up with Amato for a behind-the-scenes look at the series he’s created.
Why was it important to you to use your art to demonstrate your opposition to the Trump Administration?
I am first an artist before anything. My art is how I communicate, how I express joy, sadness, grief, and of course how I protest. Art has a long tradition of protest against government and oppression. It can enlighten people in ways other venues can’t.
Can resistance art also have an erotic element?
Well I hope so, since Gay In Trumpland has a strong erotic component! It was important to me to portray us as loving, sexual beings. I think that is at the core of our humanity, therefore universally understood. Those who are working against us want to strip us of that aspect of life.
Who are some of your art heroes or inspirations?
So many. My photo influences are people like Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Francesco Scavullo, Mary Ellen Mark, and of course Robert Mapplethorpe.
Each June, for the last 10 years, I’ve spent a week in Florence. My work over that time has been highly influenced by Italian Renaissance sculptors like Michelangelo, Giambologna, and Cellini.
For Gay In Trumpland, Rene Magritte’s paintings Les Amants I and Les Amants II were very inspirational.
Have you taken any steps to bring this series of work to the attention of the Trump Administration?
No - I thought about it, but don’t think it would do anything but give fodder for more hate. Who wants to give him something new to refer to during his rallies? I’d much rather influence voters.
Are you hopeful that the upcoming mid-term elections will bring the type of change that you’re advocating for?
Change is incremental. I don’t think Democrats winning the house will stop the assault on the LGBTQ community by this administration. There are so many things to fight against. I don’t know that winning the house will have an immediate effect, but it’s a start.
What do you hope that people feel when looking at this series of work?
I hope they see themselves in the work and have empathy. To strip away the ability to love who you choose, and build healthy lives with those partners, is to deny a basic human right.
There’s so much to be outraged by every day with regard to this administration - unless you’re really paying attention and follow specific news feeds, the policy changes which negatively effecting the LGBTQ community go unnoticed. Many people, straight or gay, are unaware of the steady dismantling of our rights and protections. I hope through this project I can raise some awareness.