Love and Connection

NOTE: these research summaries were initially developed by LGBTQ+ representatives from RAND, SPEC, and A.B.O. Comix based on their personal reactions to the themes depicted in the selected artwork. Individual artists may or may not agree that these summaries are the best representation of the themes in their work. We have solicited artists’ reactions to the themes and will update these summary pages over time based on their input.

Connections and relationships are an important part of LGBTQ+ experiences, whether they are with our sexual partners, romantic partners, families, or friends. Our diverse perspectives on relationships within LGBTQ communities can help give everyone a deeper understanding of what human relationships mean. In addition to people, we also recognize the companionship of animals, which have always provided a source of support and joy for marginalized people (animals do not judge or enact systematic harm against us in the ways people can). Incarceration separates LGBTQ+ people from our loved ones and communities, necessitating creative (but often frustratingly limited) ways to maintain connection.

Artists in Theme

Thomas Brooks, Kenneth Cain, Man-Man, Wildboy, janetter xoxo, Geremy Sledge, Billy Thomas, Reginald Toliver, Gabriella “Coco” Wyatt


Farr, R. H., Simon, K. A., & Bruun, S. T. (2017). LGBTQ relationships: Families of origin, same-sex couples, and parenting. In N. R. Silton (editor), Family Dynamics and Romantic Relationships in a Changing Society.

McDonald, S. E., Matijczak, A., Nicotera, N., Applebaum, J. W., Kremer, L., Natoli, G., O’Ryan, R., Booth, L. J., Murphy, J. L., Tomlinson, C. A., & Kattari, S. K. (2021). “He was like, my ride or die”: Sexual and gender minority emerging adults’ perspectives on living with pets during the transition to adulthood. Emerging Adulthood.

Mowen, T. J., & Visher, C. A. (2016). Changing the ties that bind: How incarceration impacts family relationships. Criminology & Public Policy.

Schilt, K., & Westbrook, L. (2009). DOING GENDER, DOING HETERONORMATIVITY: ‘Gender normals,’ transgender people, and the social maintenance of heterosexuality. Gender and Society.



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