They kept popping up on my Tumblr dashboard last night. Image after image. Something had happened.
Mark Aguhar had passed away.
If you don’t know Aguhar but are on Tumblr, chances are you have seen their work.
Mark was one of the first people I ever saw on Tumblr.
Mark preferred the use of the pronoun “they” to convey their gender identity. It was the manifestation of that gender identity that drew me to Mark. Here was someone who was unafraid to express themselves in the way that spoke to their experience. Mark did not seek to express or explain the lives of people who lived outside the gender binary. They only expressed their own:
My work is about visibility. My work is about the fact that I’m a genderqueer person of color fat femme fag feminist and I don’t really know what to do with that identity in this world.
It’s that thing where you grew up learning to hate every aspect of yourself and unlearning all that misery is really hard to do.
It’s that thing where you kind of regret everything you’ve ever done because it’s so complicit with white hegemony.
It’s that thing where you realize that your own attempts at passive aggressive manipulation and power don’t stand a chance against the structural forms of DOMINATION against your body.
It’s that thing where the only way to cope with the reality of your situation is to pretend it doesn’t exist; because flippancy is a privilege you don’t own but you’re going to pretend you do anyway.
Mark’s work was made for the parameters of an online presence. Even though their work went from performance-based pieces to classic forms of visual art, there was an immediacy present in their work that gave it and its viewers a pressing need to share. To show. To embrace and spread the love and beauty present within it. Their work was often reblogged, often without proper accreditation, across microblogging sites like Tumblr. It would pop up anywhere from art fan blogs to porn to gender-queer sites.
"Even If UR STR8 I Still Want 2 Fuck U 2,” by Mark Aguhar
I didn’t know Mark personally. I never had that privilege. But I admired them. And I knew people who knew and admired them as well. If I can do one small thing in helping ease that pain today by writing about how beautiful Mark was, then here it is.