On July 12, Behrends tweeted a selection of his work depicting gender, sexuality, and body dysphoria with the words, "My school's administration told me to stop doing my concentration on gender and sexuality because it was 'inappropriate.' But I didn't. And now…"
Eventually his work was seen by a panel of College Board critics unaffiliated with Behrends' school. The panel graded the art on a scale of 1 to 5.
Behrends earned a 5, the highest possible score, on the Studio Art AP Exam and his work was selected for the prestigious AP Studio Art Exhibit.
Behrends' work is heavy on emotion, unpacking some of the most harrowing and raw feelings impacting transgender people. While his only goal was to stick to the overall theme of gender dysphoria, it became necessary to include discomfort, too.
"I didn't really set out to make the viewer feel uncomfortable," he said. "I just wanted to visually show what a transgender person can go through on a daily basis. It wasn't until I started getting feedback that I realized that this work made cisgender people feel uncomfortable.