Los Angeles-based street artist Corie Mattie is sending a stark message to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in his own backyard for Pride Month.
Furious with the GOP 2024 presidential candidate’s extremist policies that she said “have increasingly jeopardized the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Mattie this week conducted a guerrilla activist art campaign in Orlando.
Assisted by queer-run and allied businesses, she hit the city she once called home with stickers, flyers, tear-aways and stencils.
Her main message: “Say Gay.” It’s a slamming spin on DeSantis’ homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” law banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Corie Mattie’s most prominent artwork features Disney characters Minnie Mouse and Daphne Duck, a response to DeSantis' criticism of the entertainment company.
“My return to Orlando is deeply personal,” Mattie told HuffPost.
“While I navigated my sexuality and worked a 9-to-5, Orlando provided a safe environment that allowed me to explore relationships with women and immerse myself in artistic expression,” she recalled. “The experiences I had in Florida fundamentally shaped me, playing a pivotal role in my evolution into the street artist and activist I am today.”
Mattie stumbled into street art during the coronavirus pandemic. Her uplifting and thought-provoking pieces on isolation and humanity ― part of her Los Angeles Hope Dealer project — often went viral on social media.
Street artist Corie Mattie hit Orlando with a series of activist images.
Mattie’s new campaign, though, aims to send a stinging message to DeSantis and other extremist Republicans that the LGBTQ community “will not be silenced or resigned to the shadows,” she said.
It mushroomed from an initial idea of sending protest stickers to her social media followers in Florida.
“The enthusiastic response from volunteers was overwhelming, signaling that this movement held significance beyond just a simple sticker campaign,” she said.
Corie Mattie's main message is “Say Gay," a slamming spin on the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.
One flyer features a QR code encouraging people to “get tested for being gay.” It links to an explanation of the campaign’s purpose.
“Say Gay! For The U.S.A,” read another wartime-style tear-away she pasted across Orlando.
A sidewalk stencil urged people to: “Love Like Florida Would Ban It.”
Corie Mattie's artwork went viral during the coronavirus pandemic for its uplifting messages.
Mattie’s most prominent artwork featured Disney characters Minnie Mouse and Daphne Duck enjoying an intimate moment.
Disney, of course, found itself in DeSantis’ firing line after it criticized his “Don’t Say Gay” ban.
Corie Mattie, below center, with queer-owned and -allied business people who have assisted her in the project.
“I just really hope to encourage people to capture and share images of the campaign on social media as a way to amplify our communities voice,” Mattie said. “We can turn this local campaign into a national conversation and amplify our demand for equality and acceptance.”
Policies like those enacted by DeSantis “not only hinder progress towards equality, but they also fragment communities, foster divisiveness, and breed fear and distrust,” she said.
Corie Mattie slammed Ron DeSantis' extremist policies through her artwork.
“Through the power of art, advocacy, and dialogue, I want to do what I do best and challenge these harmful policies, disrupt the narratives that perpetuate them, and fight for equality and justice,” Mattie added.
“It always comes down to the power of the people vs the people in power. And we are the fucking people.”
Check out more of Mattie’s work on Instagram.
Policies like those enacted by DeSantis “not only hinder progress towards equality, but they also fragment communities, foster divisiveness, and breed fear and distrust,” said Mattie.