“I’m Not a Joke”: Daniel Arzola’s campaign to combat violence, stereotyping, and ignorance

An enduring problem the LGBTI community continues to face concerns the persistence of negative stereotyping. Artist and activist Daniel Arzola seeks to reserve this grossly preserve form of abuse.

In an interview with It Gets Better Project,1 Arzola describes how his childhood in Venezuela was saturated with violence. His sexuality spurned attacks. In one instance, he was tied to a post and attackers threw fireworks at him. Though he had the fortune to escape, many others have not had the same luck or power.

Arzola became inspired to start the I’m Not a Joke (“No Soy Tu Chiste”) campaign when an 18-year-old Angelo Prado from Maracay, Venezuela was doused in gasoline and burned alive because he was gay. Arzola claims he was moved to become his own hero by creating art so he could heal his own wounds and help others heal theirs.

I’m Not a Joke launched in 2013. At the core of the campaign, I’m Not a Joke is a shield against homophobia. It seeks to address mockery of sexual orientation, which is often a model for ridicule and an impetus of violence. Arzola hopes that his words and art will protect those who are victims of such violence and move people to recognize that the abuses the LGBTI community faces are indeed not a joke.

Here are some inspiring pieces by Arzola. Check out his website to see more: http://nosoytuchiste.tumblr.com/.

Credit: Daniel Arzola, I’m Not a Joke/No Soy Tu Chiste

Megan Erickson, Staff Writer

1 http://www.itgetsbetter.org/blog/entry/i-am-a-story-of-hope-an-interview-with-venezuelan-artivist-daniel-arzola/

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