jonaz mcmillan believes that without the visibility and representation of the Deaf Queer population—and the navigation of difficult conversations about heterosexism, homophobia, phono-centrism, and audism, among other things—the world will not be able to heal. For change to take place, three different symbols (physical, behavioral, and verbal) need to collectively change. jonaz’s artwork (physical symbol) is intended to change how people feel and think (behavioral symbol) so that LGBTQ+ narratives can change (verbal symbol) and allow all stories to co-exist.
jonaz is passionately driven by healing and pursuing transformative approaches in order to continue creating a habitable and humane world. Before that world can be built, says jonaz, he must listen to the urgency of his inner voice, drawing inspiration from all the messages he finds in his heart. With those messages—of love, hope, and persistence—he creates art. His work is for social change through the mixture of expression and resistance.
“This world needs your story,” says jonaz. “We need you to hold hope, gently love, and resist with intention. Now, the real question is — how will you help the world heal? What is urgent to you?”