Purchase a Bad Bunny sticker and help a queer Latino through their transition? We’re in.
Last month, artist and transgender activist Leonardo Antonio Gaona started selling stickers of El Conejo Malo as a way to cover funds for top surgery, which ranges from $4,000 to $10,000 in the U.S.
Gaona had already been vending prints, including pieces of Zendaya and Billy Porter as well as commissioned portraits, online to help raise money for the surgery and aftercare, another pricey component that Gaona says is usually forgotten about.
Recently, the Puerto Rican-Colombian artist decided to place some of his pop art, including his vibrant Benito piece, on stickers as a way of making his work more accessible. It dropped on November 29. The next day, they were sold out.
“That’s the wildest part to me, they sold out in less than 24 hours of them being posted,” the 18-year-old tells Remezcla.
For Gaona, who is studying fine arts at the University of San Francisco, Bad Bunny is a popular figure who is redefining masculinity and gender norms.
“He’s emasculating Latino men’s perception of what it means to express yourself as a man and looks good as hell while doing it,” he says.
The Ponce, Puerto Rico native was particularly inspired by the Latin trap heavy-hitter at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards, where the Puerto Rican rapper matched his neon green hair with pointy acrylic nails of a similar hue. Gaona called the moment surprising and influential.
“That’s so much more powerful than any machista norm anyone in the Latine community grew up hearing. That’s what I’m trying to do in my own queer way: redefine what it means to be a trans masculine person in a society that has yet to even grasp trans identity as real or lasting,” he says.
That’s why Gaona has restocked his Benito stickies. The adhesives are selling at $4 and can be purchased over at his art website. All stickers, prints and commissions sold go directly toward supporting the college student’s transition as well as the basic needs he’ll need during surgery recovery.