Excerpt from CBC Arts November 1. For full article, visit: https://www.cbc.ca/arts/for-transgender-awareness-month-this-artist-designed-a-logo-packed-with-symbolism-1.4887503
It's Transgender Awareness Month, a time for recognizing the issues facing transgender and gender non-conforming people and raising visibility of the community. For our November profile pic, artist Morgan Sea designed a CBC Arts logo that's teeming with references to trans history (and CBC history) — plus paintings, books and her personal heroes. (There's a lot to process, but she covers it all in this Q&A.)
But first, some quick notes about the artist: originally from Saskatoon, Sea recently arrived in Toronto to do a Masters at OCAD University. In addition to making comics, zines and radio, she's also an organizer of queer community events.
Says Sea via email: "Traditionally, Trans Day of Remembrance (November 20) isn't so much a celebration as it is a sombre acknowledgement of the death toll and violence towards trans people that escalates massively against trans women of colour, sex workers and the homeless."
"Activists claimed the week leading up to TDoR as Trans Week of Awareness, a time to promote activism and solidarity. So now that we have the whole month, maybe we can go beyond awareness and effect material change."
Learn more about Sea and the ideas that went into the design.
Name: Morgan Sea
Let's talk about your design! What inspired your take on the CBC Arts logo?
Primarily, I was trying to express that trans rights are human rights; that human rights are still important, and that we have a lot of work to do!
I was trying to figure out how to retroactively inject the CBC with 50 years of HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
In 1966, the CBC started using a rainbow butterfly logo (designed by Hubert Tison) for its colour TV broadcast.1966 was also the year of the Compton Cafeteria Riots, an important fight for trans liberation that is less known than 1969's Stonewall Riots. Coincidence, yes! But I'd like to imagine a parallel world where the CBC was always championing queer rights with its anachronistic rainbow butterfly. (The rainbow flag first debuted in 1978.)
Also, butterflies have been an obvious metaphor for transitioning folks for a long time. It is a bit dated, but I couldn't resist using it. I added a genderqueer butterfly in the back and a large trans flag-themed fuzzy moth.
What are some of the other symbols you chose to include in the design? What do they represent?
The image is based on Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. I modelled Liberty's face off of artist/activist Mirha-Soleil Ross. The people are meant to symbolize marginalized groups coming together and they embody various virtues: truth, justice, labour, unity, tolerance, humility and mystery.
The foreground replaces the French Revolution with current struggles that we need to come together to deal with, primarily climate change, wealth inequality, corporatism and fascism. These are huge issues, and we need to embrace the diversity and knowledge of human experience if we want to survive.
Also, with the CBC logo, I added a three-pronged trans symbol for binary and non-binary genders. In the centre sits Claire Diane's "Sigil of peace, ending capitalism, healing trauma and hot trans makeouts," which I first encountered in the book Sea Witchby Moss Angel.