Throughout June, Thump Coffee in downtown Bend will display “We Live Here, Too,” a portrait series of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community of Central Oregon and their friends, family and allies, created by artist Teafly Peterson in conjunction with Human Dignity Coalition.
“The goal of this project is to show who in our community identifies as LGBTQ and the challenges they face to educate our community about these issues, while also hopefully supporting LGBTQ persons who do not feel comfortable or safe expressing who they are,” says Bruce A. Morris, Human Dignity Coalition’s executive director. “Through this project we hope to facilitate a dialogue within the community to help break down bias and support those members of the LGBTQ community who do not feel comfortable being out or active in their community because of how they identify for fear they may be attacked.”
Artist Teafly Peterson asks, “If you do not understand someone else’s experience, how can you relate to them past whatever differences you share? Some differences in our country are deep, organic differences like culture, race, religion and sexuality. We need to talk about those differences. We need to find the common ground that reminds us of others dignity and remind us of our own as well.”
“But what questions do you ask?” Peterson continues. “What do you say when you are not sure what commonalities you do have? Where do you start? The goal of this project is to do just that, begin a dialogue in the community to help it find a common ground past those deep, organic differences that interfere with everyone’s freedoms.”
Human Dignity Coalition (HDC) works to advance and safeguard human rights. The organization has been promoting equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer [LGBTQ] community in Central Oregon since 1992. Visit the Human Dignity Coalition website.