By Alyssa Shapiro
Caleb Boyles is an illustrator and one of the artists who collaborated with Youth To The People to celebrate Pride this year. Boyles grew up in North Carolina, and before coming out turned to creative pursuits as a safe outlet. He studied illustration at the selective Savannah College of Art and Design.
Who are you and what do you stand for?
I am a gay Southern illustrator currently living in Los Angeles, California. It can be hard to find yourself when growing up somewhere that does not have the same values in life as you; I hope to inspire other queer people living in small rural towns to feel as if they can achieve their goals and be themselves.
What are your pronouns?
My pronouns are he/him.
Why do you feel it’s important to make your voice heard?
I do not think my voice is necessarily important; however, I do feel like it is important to hear all queer people’s stories who may not have had the opportunity to be themselves at an early age, to help younger queer people currently afraid to be themselves know that life does get better. Collectively, all queer people who go through a similar experience of hiding themselves in the rural South make up a large part of the queer experience, and I feel as if they should be counted and celebrated in Pride celebrations as well.
What is your outlet?
For most of my life, drawing has been my outlet. I love getting caught up in my own imagination to escape the real world and to help calm myself of whatever anxieties may be taking up too much space inside of my head. Even if you may not feel like you are good at drawing, something about imagining something inside of your thoughts and bringing them into the world can be very therapeutic.
Is there a moment in your memory when your perspective or idea of what Pride is changed or evolved? What happened then?
When I was in college I went to my first Pride celebration with some friends in the city we lived in at the time. It as a small Pride, but it was the first time I felt connected to the queer community in a larger way. Something about seeing a large group of queer people in the same space for the first time really opened my eyes to the community I did not know I belonged to [yet].
If you could get the world to change its collective mind about one issue, or adopt one way of being, what would it be and why?
I would love it if gender roles and expectations could be forgotten. I think collectively everyone would be much happier if we left behind societal expectations of what anyone of any gender should or should not be doing.
Learn more about YTTP's Pride collaborators here.
Shop our With Pride kit, with 100% of profits going to GLSEN (up to $75K) here.