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Disadvantage - Exploring LGBTQ Inequalities Through Art

Disadvantage - Exploring LGBTQ Inequalities Through Art

. Guest Blogger

In 2016, same sex marriage is law of the land. That may lead some to believe that the fight for LGBTQ equality has been won, but we are still far from complete victory. Our guest blogger, Sheriden Vanhoy, used a senior thesis to illustrate the daily struggles still faced by the LGBTQ community. There is still a Disadvantage.  



Disadvantage all started when I was given the task to choose a major social issue for my senior thesis. This issue would be the topic of every design project I worked on my final year of my design degree, and I knew immediately that I wanted to discuss ongoing LGBT+ inequalities. So many people aren’t aware that their friend or loved one can still legally be fired from their job, evicted from their home, or denied a loan just because of who they are. I wanted to create real impact through my design and show the real and relevant issues to the public.



The key to creating the design for Disadvantage was finding a way to connect the concept of time with LGBT+ inequalities. After brainstorming and mindmapping ideas, I began to think about how theoretically everything an LGBT+ individual has can be taken away one right after the other. You get married to your partner Sunday, but you get fired from your job Monday when you try to add your partner to your insurance. Then on Tuesday you get evicted from your apartment the next day when your landlord finds out you have a same-sex partner. And it goes on and on like this until they have nothing left. These things could potentially be taken away from them at any time. I wanted to portray this idea with the design of my clock, but I had to find a simpler more understandable way to do it.



After a variety of different designs and a good amount of trial and error, I eventually found a design that worked. By simply using six words, each representing an area of discrimination, I was able to create the equality sign as the center focus of the clock. I wanted to utilize the rainbow colors in some way, but I didn’t want it to look too distracting. One word on each line was colored and also printed on top of the clock to show that words importance. I also wanted to use the formatting of the clock to assist with the function of the design. I only used one clock hand so it could act as the dash to create the inequality symbol. But it also was a way to show that at any time a random right could be covered up by the hand, representing a civil right being taken away. The clock came out great using minimalistic design, and ended up being sold at a fundraiser event to help put together our senior show.


Disadvantage was a great start for my design work regarding LGBT+ issues. I love how the design came out and have several other LGBT+ related designs in the works. I want to create good design that can represent the community and help educate the the general public on what they can do to be allies and help create a brighter future.

You can learn more about Sheriden's work via her portfolio site


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The Collective Voice

  • L. Miner

    Good job Sheriden, on a thoughtful art piece. It’s a democracy, so we stand or fall together. Art is critical to that goal. My hope is that you make money at your art, too.Godspeed.