Artist of 'Trans People Are Sacred' billboard in Detroit looks to open minds

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If you have driven on Seven Mile near Van Dyke on Detroit's east side, you may have seen the billboard "Trans People Are Sacred."

Bright and colorful, the design could be described as whimsical. Jonah Welch is the artist who designed the billboard and is a non-binary artist from Wisconsin.

"I really wanted to see something in the public sphere that would be a liberating and joyful message for Trans people to see," Welch said. "My goal is not necessarily to change any minds."

The billboard is part of an art exhibition called "Signs of the Times" - presented by a non-profit group called Smart Art Space.

Welch is one of 10 artists who have their work featured on billboards scattered throughout the city.

"It is pretty wild," Welch said. "I make generally pretty small drawings and to see something that visible from afar was really humbling and powerful.

"As I was crossing the streets to see it, I was wearing a dress and someone yelled out their car window at me and swore at me. It was just ironic because I am literally walking to see this billboard that 'Trans People Are Sacred.' And even though this just happened, I feel okay because this message is here about me."

The billboard is scheduled up until August 3rd.

"It might bring up resistance in people," Welch said. "But there might be some folks I would hope that, are pushed maybe a little bit over the edge to be like, 'That's kind of beautiful' and maybe start to look at Trans people in a different light."

Welch says the response to the billboard has been overwhelmingly positive.