In the fight against sexual orientation discrimination, every day is June 28th and that’s why we’ve taken the opportunity to speak with Puño to get his unique point of view on this issue.

June is the month of Pride, but the fight to normalize this cause and in some cases not take steps back takes place 365 days of the year. For that end, we decided to interview a writer who represents that struggle in each one of his pieces. Puño is about that way of life.


Can you introduce yourself to readers who don’t know you?
I’m Puño from Valencia, I’ve been writing graffiti since 1999 and I’m gay. Lots of people might believe that there’s no need to talk about my sexual preferences as a writer, but for me it is really important and strongly related.
Bombing a city by writing your name everywhere is a way to stand up for yourself, to be seen and not just be another number in the system. As I understand it, standing up for myself as gay or as part of a sexual dissidence is another way of breaking out of the norm and putting an end to invisibility.

‘My artistic influences (even in graffiti) are often also gay, and I don’t think it’s by chance. I think that when something as natural as homosexuality is a characteristic that can make you feel like the weird one or the different one in this society.’

When did you decide to talk about your sexual orientation on social networks in an environment such as graffiti?
The truth is that I don’t remember there being an exact moment when I decided to do it. I came out of the closet when I was still quite young and I have never hidden who I am. When I started to live my life as I really wanted and to talk about my tastes and my role models, I guess this had an impact on graffiti and vice versa.
As I mentioned before, for me, being gay is not only limited to my sexual condition, but transcends this and is part of my identity. My artistic influences (even in graffiti) are often also gay, and I don’t think it’s by chance. I think that when something as natural as homosexuality is a characteristic that can make you feel like the weird one or the different one in this society.
That can sink you and make you try to hide that “strangeness” or adapt it to “the right thing” or, on the other hand, it can become your strength and what makes you proud of not being just another normie.

In your experience, has there been more criticism or support from the community?
In my case I’ve felt more support or indifference than discrimination, or at least face to face. I want to think that no matter how hood many people I paint with are, they have evolved from the Stone Age. I don’t care too much what people who aren’t from my environment may say.
Fortunately, I’ve never heard a homophobic comment to my face from any writer, but if they did, they would regret it. I firmly believe in self-defense and zero tolerance for this type of attitude.

‘Fortunately, I’ve never heard a homophobic comment to my face from any writer, but if they did, they would regret it. I firmly believe in self-defense and zero tolerance for this type of attitude.’

Have you suffered discrimination in the street or online?
Directly or indirectly, people who are part of the sexual dissidence or are outside the heteronorm always suffer some kind of discrimination. No one stares at a heterosexual couple on the street because they are holding hands, and while it is true that no-one has ever attacked me directly, I notice the looks or the comments people make under their breath.
I think people don’t dare attack me directly because they’re free of prejudice or because they’re mega tolerant, it’s just down to sheer cowardice. I have no problem saying that this queer is going to crack your skull if you get too smart, and I like to make it clear from the beginning. Unfortunately, you have to mark the limits and red lines well depending on which environments.
It is also true that people who externalize their homosexuality more through the way they dress or behave are at greater risk of suffering aggression. Actually, apart from homophobia, there is a lot of misogyny in these behaviors, because for their mentalities – more typical of unicellular beings than 21st century people – that a man is feminine, is a way of “lowering” or “humiliating” himself; how to go down a social ladder. That’s why people being camp bothers them and offends them so much.

Have you noticed a change in attitudes regarding homosexuality in graffiti in the years you’ve been painting?
When I came out of the closet I was quite antisocial and I painted with very few people, only with those closest to me. To be honest, the change is most perceptible in the subject of language. In the world of graffiti, you hear terms like “faggot” less and less, although they are still used, but not with such impunity or so openly.
Many other gay people and I often use the term faggot as a way to remove all the negative charge that word has, like the N-word that black people use, acceptable within peers but not from white people. Faggot is something that we can use, but not heteros, end of story. But I think that most people today who use the term aren’t making a direct reference to homosexuality (which doesn’t mean that it’s alright).
There have always been many good writers who have been homosexual, like Earsnot or Beks, but I do believe that many gay writers have not been able to express themselves as freely about their sexual condition during our adolescence as today’s writers can, which makes me deeply happy.

What do you think about the brands that promote certain social causes?
I think it’s very positive. Homophobia, transphobia or any other form of discrimination should not be foreign issues for brands that want to adapt to the 21st century, even if it were for pure commercial strategy. The easiest thing would be to look the other way and not position yourself, but committing to just causes always ends up being beneficial in the long run.
In the end, companies and brands are made up of all kinds of people, just like society. Brands supporting issues such as pride visible is something magnificent.

What does Pride month and 28th June mean to you?
For me, June is the most beautiful month of the year. I was born in June and it’s the month in which summer begins. Of course, it is also the month of pride, when the Stonewall riots are commemorated, when thousands of queers, dykes and transvestites stood up to the police and told them: “Enough with the abuse. Enough of denigrating us. Enough of killing us. We are here, we are not going to adapt to your idyllic heterosexual society and we are going to continue to exist, no matter what.
“We aren’t going to give an inch of our rights, even if it costs us our lives.”

Follow Puño on Instagram to check his latest work, including this reel he made with Montana Shop Barcelona.

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