Tom of Finland is arguably one of the most famous queer artists in the world. “You can find Tom of Finland drawings in almost every leather bar, and in gay bars all over the world,” said Terry Miller, co-founder of the It Gets Better Project (a charity focused on empowering LGBTQ+ youth). “It was almost like a code — this is where you’re accepted. This is where you’ll find a community for yourself.”
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To honor what would have been Tom’s 98th birthday, Terry visited the Tom of Finland House (ToF) and documented his experience in a video tour. The ToF house has served as a haven for artists in residence and young LGBTQ+ people for decades. In a video, Miller provides a glimpse inside the 35-year-old landmark and chats about the ToF partnership with the It Gets Better Project.
“For years, Tom of Finland’s work has served as a means of connecting people and creating a conversation around what it means to be LGBTQ+. In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the It Gets Better Project. Just like it only takes one person to say ‘have you seen one of these videos’ and then you go online and you find thousands of It Gets Better videos — there are thousands of Tom of Finland pictures and drawings that tell the history of our community.”
Learn more from Miller and the Tom of Finland Foundation in the video premiere below.