Jasper Behrends is a trans teenager who lives in northern Virginia. Jasper grew up with art being an important part of his life.
As part of his art course, he had to devise a specific subject for his work, as well as a theme. His official concentration statement was: ‘How the people in my life relate to their gender and sexuality, especially in regards to body dysphoria.’
The school vice principal came to him after his art teacher informed the administration about his ‘potentially sensitive’ concentration subject. He said that although he had ‘no problem’ with the LGBTQ theme, there is a ‘time and a place’ for ‘these things’ and that it did not belong in public schools.”
“He constantly reaffirmed to me that he ‘fully supported’ the LGBTI community, but made it blatantly clear that I could not bring it into the school.” Jasper told in an interview to Gaystar News.
“I asked what specifically about it was ‘inappropriate’ because, at this point, I had only made one piece (Disconnection, which can be found on my website). He told me that it was the nude breasts. I told him that that was ridiculous because I had drawn tons of boobs in my breadth section and no one had even raised a finger. I also cited portfolios of students in the past who did things with nudity that weren’t forced to change their subject.
He claimed that the reason I couldn’t do my subject was because it ‘didn’t follow the school dress code’ and ‘just like how I can’t let a student walk in shirtless, I can’t let you do this stuff.’
“Although I didn’t agree that art and school dress codes should be policed on the same level, I understood that this was obviously a risque topic.”
After a lot of arguing, he just decided to ignore everyone and keep doing it. Jasper submitted his work and earned the highest possible score on his Studio Art Exhibit.
It’s easy to see why
After sharing his story on Twitter, Jasper has received an outpouring of love and support for his work and his post now has over 13,000 retweets. His work currently lives on his portfolio, where Jasper has opened up about their inspirations and meaning.