Max Markwald

Region: Midwest

 Avoiding the label Queer Artist for twenty-seven years afforded me plenty of time to figure out who I was before coming out professionally as a trans man. But that’s not why I ran from the label for so long. Maybe it’s because queer still has that bitter taste of a word I was taught not to say. Maybe it’s because queer feels like a declaration of arrival, a one-way ticket destination. Or maybe my hesitation came from being denied healthcare and insurance, being harassed in public, and having my job threatened. I take on the label, Queer Artist, not as a stopping point but rather as a way of looking at a system that does not recognize my existence, and saying: You don’t get to tell me what that word means anymore.