Josey Riegel: The Inspiration Behind “Together”


“Together” was made as a statement that we have to stay together. The posing of the hands was supposed to be reminiscent of the sign for “Friend” in ASL, of course it isn’t perfect as the fingers are meant to be slipping apart as if the hand on the bottom is falling. The flowers circling them are in the colors of the rainbow, which is a common representation of LGBTQ+ pride, and are a wide variety of species of flower to represent how every experience is different.

The inspiration behind this piece was how I have experienced and seen people exclude identities other than their own from queer spaces, and how I have seen many cis queers not care about the anti-trans laws. I intentionally left the hands grayscale so as to push the skin tones or any other defining features of the hands to make it easier for the viewer to relate to either of the hands. The flowers are kept in color to emphasize that we are different, but we are stronger and more beautiful together; as well as the blood remaining in color to emphasize how we are all still human, despite how different we are.

I’ve seen the pain that infighting in our community has caused, I’ve seen what happens when you expect everyone to be the same as you, and what happens is that these young people are no longer free to explore their identities on their own. We have to stand together as a community to make a change.

– Josey Riegel is the creator of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 2023 Pride artwork, titled “Together.” See some of his favorite book recommendations below.


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Felix Ever After

From Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. This title is also available to check out as an eBook and eAudiobook on OverDrive/Libby.

The Black Flamingo

A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, from acclaimed poet and performer Dean Atta. This title is also available to check out as an eBook and an eAudiobook on OverDrive/Libby.

This Is How You Lose The Time War

In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked “Burn before reading. Signed, Blue.” So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents in a war that stretches through the vast reaches of time and space.

This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Libby and an eAudio on Libby.