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Arien Reed

"Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance." – Shirin Neshat

Arien Reed is a disabled, trans artist who paints/draws other gender-diverse and intersex people to help end the imbalance of gender representation in the fine art industry. He is also a poet who writes about his experiences as a transgender survivor of sexual and physical violence.

My poetry and art document my experiences as a transgender person and as a survivor of sexual and physical violence. Art and poetry kept me alive during a time when I didn't want to be, and have become how I process the world and it's many random kindnesses and atrocities alike. My creative processes stitch me back together every time I start falling apart, and to this day, they are my greatest joy, my greatest source of expression and relief, and the things that give my life the most meaning and purpose.

What is Arien up to?

1. A Coloring Book featuring the likeness of actual Trans Kids, intended for anyone who loves celebrating diversity, is in need of a self-care hobby, or may be a trans or gender-questioning. I need trans kids to volunteer to be drawn, and I am also accepting suggestions for the book’s title. 2. The Unerasure Project—I’ve been making a series of paintings and drawings of historical U.S. transgender persons to raise awareness of, and to preserve, our history.3.  I’ve been making a series of monochromatic drawings featuring aspects of trans culture (tucking, packing, bra-stuffing, binding/unbinding, etc) that are routine for us but which many cis people have never even heard of. Suggestions for this project’s name are welcome.4. In general, I paint other trans people, including any trans person who signs up to be featured in my art. My sole goal here is to humanize us and share our beauty, usually through vibrant mixed media paintings. The sign up link is in a Story Highlight on my Instagram profile called “To Be Featured” and is included near the bottom of my monthly email newsletter.5. Murals—I’ve been occasionally painting vibrant murals in racist, transphobic areas. Where I live, many of the streets are literally named after the killing of POC (Hangtree Lane, Spook Lane, etc), or include racist terms (Savage Road), so I like to make murals (with owner permission) that are loud, proud depictions of BIPOC trans women striking poses of power and solidarity.You can sign up to his trans AF artist newsletter here // Visit my art shop:  // Other ways to support hisart:


a body no one has hurt or hated


gentle, i am not a gentle

kind of damaged. i am a rough

edge of dropped ceramic. i am a missing

piece of silence. i am alone

in my dragging

onward of skin, hopes,

while freedom draws backward

and everyone gazes everywhere

but inward.


you touched me

in a softening way, in a softening place,

but i did not ask you to unlace me

from the nightmares. i sleep

to find a place more dangerous

than the childhood i keep

not talking about.


i itch to hurt myself so deeply

i cannot feel



laws changing.


i am a protest of cardboard, blistering,

and sunburned longing. i am feet

weathering on darkening

cement. i am my heart, chanting

dreams where my marriage is safe

from those who have never

met me. i want to know a gentle life

from inside a pain-free, cis, able body i can own

completely. i want to live inside a body

no one has hurt, or hated,

but me.

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