Meet the transgender graphic designer who uses art to teach people about the transgender community

‘There’s nothing holding you back, you can put it into art and make it be seen’

Creative outlets are often a way for people to express themselves while sending a message. While there are different kinds of creative expression, some people have a natural talent for creating a visual representation for illustrating their thoughts.

For New York-based graphic designer Dante Addams, they use art and visual elements as an educational tool to educate others about the transgender community.

Addams is a graphic designer for Trans Student Educational Resources, a site that aims to "educate the public and teach trans activists how to be effective organizers.'" As the only trans youth-led organization in the United States, Dante is part of a 21-person board that collaborates on ideas to transform the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment.

We spoke to Dante about their work as a graphic designer and how they use their art to educate others going through similar experiences.

How did you start designing?

It started as a hobby in high school and I continued it into college as my major. It was just very theraputic.

What theraputic emotions do you feel?

Doing it makes me feel more accomplished like I'm doing something for someone.

Did it help ease your transition?

I was starting to identify as transgender at first as I continued art, and later I figured out I didn't fit with the gender I was born with.

Dante's art aims to educate people about the transgender community. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

Dante's art aims to educate people about the transgender community. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

What do you enjoy most about art?

I can just create and be myself. There's nothing holding you back, you can put it into art and make it be seen.

How did you get involved with Trans Student Resources?

I saw a posting about them needing a graphic designer so I sent them an email with my portfolio and a few days later I got the job.

Is it meaningful to work with people who have similar experiences?

It's really cool–it's nice to be able to work with people who know your struggles and what you're going through.

Describe your creative process when tackling a new project

I like to look at other people's work and see what I can do to make it appealing to others. I also look online to see what people are lookng for and what attracts people the most, that kind of stuff.

Also if they have some certain ideas they come to me and see what I can do. We also work with other designers and we come up with something we can do.

Dante's work ranges in designs. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

Dante's work ranges in designs. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

Has any of your work been featured publically?

I'm not too sure, maybe.

What is your message to people viewing these designs?

I want to be able to teach others and show how important art is to the world.

Another image from Dante's portfolio. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

Another image from Dante's portfolio. Image courtsey of Dante Addams

Do you understand visual graphics to be a resource to educate others in a positive way?

Graphic design is used to try and explain things. You can teach and write what you want to tell them in art, makes it more appealing to others than just talking about it. You can show and teach at the same time what it means to be trans.

You can learn about Trans Student Educational Resources here.

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