Tattoo artist Cedre Csillagi launched the A Thousand Pansies project to raise funds and give them to the trans community in the United States.
Through the project, Csillagi aims to tattoo 1,000 pansies to a thousand individuals. The master behind the initiative came out as queer during his high school years in Texas. According to Csillagi, he grew upset by legislation that targeted trans and nonbinary people. People who want to get the pansy tattoo to need to apply and undergo a selection process. The selected individuals must send $500 to a chosen charity. Those with more finances can give it to others who cannot afford to pay for Csillagi’s tattoo.
“I landed on the flower because of its reclamation – queer reclamation of it. It is a flower that was used originally as a derogatory term. I feel so energized by it and so inspired by everyone I tattoo. People want to help and be a part of something bigger,” Csillagi said.
“As a queer person growing up in the south, I experienced firsthand the effects of homophobia, which influenced my choice to seek out and build community in the Bay Area,” said Csillagi in an Instagram post.
“After the recent legislative attacks on the queer and trans community, I envisioned creating a tattoo that would be a marking of love, alliance, and protection. So I created a custom pansy tattoo design with the vision of spreading this unifying icon throughout the Bay Area and beyond.”
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A positive response
When Csillagi launched the program, he thought it would gain traction slower. However, many responded to the initiative and Csillagi is booked until 2024, tattooing those who contacted the page. Eleven people have received the tattoo, including Piper Kerman, Kate Schatz, and Mia Birdsong. In addition, chef Preeti Mistry got a tattoo from Csillagi before, and now that he reached out to her for the project, she responded well.
“Just Sunday morning, we had a reminder of how important it is to fight back against this continued hate speech and legislation that leads to the type of violence we experienced recently. So there are folks organizing against us, and we have to support all of our community,” Mistry said.
Author and activist Mia Birdsong urged others to support the project and said people need to consider the community.
“We live through a time of unprecedented violence against and attempted erasure and dehumanization of transgender people. Right-wing propaganda machines are working hard to convince us that transgender people claiming their identities is somehow harmful to others,” Birdsong said.
Receiving the tattoo
Participating in the project will mean helping several LGBTQ organizations. The Knights and Orchids Society became the first organization to receive the funds raised by A Thousand Pansies. The organization serves the LGBTQ community in Alabama. Through the project, Csillagi hopes to change the lives of people. He said it enlivens her to think that his craft helps others in need, especially the marginalized sector.
“We all try to make a huge difference, but we don’t know how much difference we make. So this feels like grassroots, on-the-ground activism that’s tangible,” concluded Csillagi.