LGBTQ+ Artist Spotlight - Breathe

LGBTQ+ Artist Spotlight

Mon 21 Feb

In honour of LGBTQ+ history month, we wanted to spotlight a number of artists in the LGBTQ+ community.

In honour of LGBTQ+ history month, we wanted to spotlight a number of artists in the LGBTQ+ community, who through their work are bringing light to important conversations and movements and represent the challenges the LGBTQ+ community have been historically faced with and still face today.

Travis Alabanza

Travis Alabanza is an award-winning writer, theatre-maker and performer based in London. Their work focuses on changing mindsets and conveying what it’s like to live with racism, transphobia and homophobia every day.

It all started with a burger…well this story does anyway. One day Travis Alabanza was walking on Waterloo Bridge when someone threw a burger at them and shouted trans abuse. That was shocking enough, but what happened next, started the conversation. Out of the 200 people that were walking past that day, no one stopped to help or ask if they were ok. From this experience, Travis created a political, poetic and passionate theatre piece, Burgerz.

BURGERZ first premiered at Hackney Showroom in 2018 and has since sold-out shows at the Southbank Centre, Sao Paulo Brazil, HAU Berlin & won the Edinburgh Fringe Total Theatre award in 2019. Travis reflects personal experiences of trauma in their show and uses it as a way to overcome and heal from those challenges. But the real onus is on everyone, to take responsibility and protect everyone, not only those who conform to societal norms.

Travis Alabanza has held conversations across the UK, offering a space for gender non-conforming, queer and trans people to discuss and talk about their experiences. They have also given several workshops in schools using the arts and performance to talk about gender and race. Not to mention their numerous talks to universities around the globe.

Learn more about Travis and their work here. 

Liv Little

Liv Little is an author and founder of an English online and print magazine run by women of colour, gal-dem. Liv Little founded gal-dem to be able to empower and showcase the work of women and non-binary people of colour. There is still a huge disparity in the journalistic landscape – 94% white and 55% male, gal-dem is creating new ways of thinking to address inequality and misrepresentation in the industry by offering a platform for the creative talents of minority communities.

Liv Little recently wrote a book, The Sisters which is available to listen to on audible, it is about race, family dynamics and sexuality. The story is about two black queer women, who are twins, but despite their proximity, grow up with different experiences, affecting how they come to terms with their identity.

Jamie Windust

Jamie is an award-winning editor, writer and public speaker. They are a contributing editor at Gay Times and Editor-In-Chief of Fruitcake Magazine, which spotlights art, poetry, photography, and interviews from LGBTQIA+ people. Their work focuses on looking at the creative industries and seeing how inclusive and accessible they are for trans and gender non-conforming people.

Jamie started to use makeup to explore their femininity and essentially to mask insecurities, but in the end, it became an artistic way to explore their identity and fully embrace their truest self. It wasn’t an easy ride, Jamie was subject to constant street harassment and persecution. “By being your most authentic version of yourself is the most courageous thing a person can do”.

Jamie has written a book In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life by Jamie Windust (goodreads.com), which offers advice and insight into life as a non-binary person. The book is about joy, strength and power and exploring the most authentic version of yourself. Jamie has also petitioned the UK Parliament for gender-neutral passport options.

Learn more about Jamie here.

Danni Spooner

Danni Spooner is a UK based contemporary dancer and artist, with many years of experience in ballet, tap, modern, jazz and musical theatre. Her work focuses on Queer culture and cyborg culture.  Through dance, Danni brings the Queer community together to support and celebrate queerness.  Danni made a short film, FAG, with Random Acts funded by Arts Council England, through experimental dance Dani explores the cis-gendered society we live in from a gender-fluid perspective. It reflects on our society that so desperately wants to be diverse and celebrate individuality, yet it is a society that limits us to be what it wants us to be, not what we want to be.

Learn more about Danni Spooner here.

Glamrou

Amrou Al-Kadhi AKA Glamrou is a drag queen, actor, screenwriter and author. They originally come from an Arab and Islamic background and have faced many negative experiences and challenges whilst growing up. Glamrou has been on a journey of self-healing and self-acceptance and originally when they dressed up in drag it was a facade for all the buried shame and trauma experienced during childhood.  But this is what lead them to use their vulnerabilities and trauma on stage, to process and heal and support others. This turned into the drag show- GLAMROU: FROM QURAN TO QUEEN.

Amrou Al-Kadhi has also written a book called “Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen”, which is about growing up “queer, Arab and Muslim in a British society” They wrote it to empower themselves but also to give other queer Muslims Arabs something that reflects themselves and supports them to process their feelings.

“I get love from the people who come to support me, and that’s what I hold on to. The love does drown out the hate.”

Learn more about Amrou Al-Kadhi here.

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi is a South African visual artist, photographer and cinematographer, their work focuses on race, gender and sexuality and black queer embodiment, including that of black trans and intersex individuals. Zanele covers various important topics through their work and documents and celebrates other black lesbians in South Africa. Through their work, they document the realities of people who deserved to be heard and deserve to be seen and whose lives are often excluded.

Zanele also co-founded the non-governmental organization, Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), in 2002.

Learn more about Zanele Muholi here.