Search

LGBTQ+ History Month 2022: Interview with LGBTQ+ London Creatives

— 10 Feb 2022, 14:48 by Izzy Grant


At BOXPARK, we champion inclusivity and diversity all 365 days of the year. From our traders, teams, resident DJs, partners, we aim to bring different communities and cultures together in one place. 

This month we are exploring LGBTQ+ History Month, an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. But we find it important to talk about the issues faced by this community and celebrate their achievements throughout the whole year.

Our annual events programme regularly features panel talks discussing curated LGBTQ+ topics and we hold Bougie Drag Brunch every month to shine a light on the best of the glamourous drag world.  

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month this year, we interviewed a talented collective of LGBTQ+ creatives to discuss what it means to them and how they feel society has changed over the last few years. 

Meet Chantelle Ayanna - DJ, Producer and Historian - IG @chantelleayanna

Chantelle Ayanna is a London based DJ, Producer and history graduate. One of the original DJ’s at lick events – a club night and recently turned nightclub space run by queer women for all women and their non-binary friends. Chantelle always aims to reflect and converse with her peer group through music – which is an often ignored demographic on the queer / women focused events scene in London.

LGBTQ+ History Month provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on how the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people have changed. How would you describe what LGBTQ+ History month means to you? 

LGBTQ + history month is for sure an important time. It's developing into a more inclusive celebration of queer people today - and also a commemoration for queer and trans elders, many of which were not celebrated in their time. As it coincides with Black History month in the US, for me its important that queer black lived experiences also be recognised alongside some of the more mainstreams stories/icons - as often they are the most overlooked experiences which have actually been pivotal for popular culture as we know it today.

Have you seen any significant change in the world’s perception of LGBTQ+ people over recent years?

Change is a constant in all our lives, and acceptance for people from the community can be described as fluctuating. Worldwide there are still so many LGBTQ+ people who are actively living in fear of their lives because of who they are and who they love. However, In the sense of popular culture - there have been a number of breakthrough artists in recent years who identify as LGBTQI+, and I feel the talent which resides in the LGBTQ has really shone due to the abilities of various social media platforms. In a  world where so much influence is found online - there have been measurable changes through both activism and visibility - which has led to both widely positive reactions - as well as negative responses. 

Do you believe it’s easier to be your true self in your line of work rather than if you were in a more corporate profession? 

Personally i've found creative industry easier to navigate- partly because i've been able to work with super talented queer collectives (Jungle Kitty/ Pxssy Palace) as well as and fantastic allies. The nature of being a DJ is also to be part of the party, and I've found a lot of the places I've played have encompassed a crowd I can relate to on that level. I've heard a number of corporate professions are attempting to make headway with inclusion and diversity, which is positive, but I can't speak comprehensively about that world.

What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating coming out but scared to do so?  

I find coming out happens multiple times throughout your life - as we are always encountering so many different people - just try to do so safely for yourself - remember you are always valid and very loved even if you are not :) x

What would you like to see more of at BOXPARK for the LGBTQ+ community? 

BOXPARK is an awesome - transformative space which would 100% benefit from the LGBTQ+ presence. I'd love to see more queer parties + topical conversations held in the space.

Meet Dom&INK - Illustrator & Author - IG @domandink

DOM&INK, is a freelance illustrator and author based in London. He loves to create work that makes people feel empowered, confident and all warm and fuzzy inside. Recurring themes in his work are LGBTQ+ rights, mental health awareness, body positivity, drag and girl bands (he can’t resist drawing a Little Mix video lewk). He has written 4 books, covering topics including coming out, gender, mental health and activism and is the official illustrator for Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK. 

LGBTQ+ History Month provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on how the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people have changed. How would you describe what LGBTQ+ History month means to you? 

For me personally, LGBTQ+ History Month is a time to look back at our history, what’s come before, those in the community who have helped pave the way for us today and also to look to the future of our community and how much further we need to go to establish queer rights across not just the UK but the world!

Have you seen any significant change in the world’s perception of LGBTQ+ people over recent years?

Whilst the visibility of queer characters and people are featured a bit more prominently in media and drag has stepped into the mainstream, there is still numerous human rights offences taking place to queer people across the world. Even here in the UK, we are *still* trying to get conversion therapy banned. It’s 2022! I like to think in the coming years there will be much more significant change for queer people everywhere. 

Do you believe it’s easier to be your true self in your line of work rather than if you were in a more corporate profession? 

In some ways I think so but also in others, you get boxed in as the ‘queer’ illustrator and only get approached for work in LGBTQ+ History Month and Pride (and people want work unpaid). So sometimes whilst being more of my ‘true self’ is an asset, it’s still compromising in terms of how I’m approached for my work and what opportunities I’m offered in comparison to my straight counterparts. 

What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating coming out but scared to do so? 

I would tell them to be kind to themselves. Find someone they trust and speak to them. That these feelings are normal, and that no matter what happens, that they promise to continue to show up for their awesome and queertastically beautiful selves. There is a whole community of queer people out there who cannot wait to meet you. 

What would you like to see more of at BOXPARK for the LGBTQ+ community?

I think more focus on queer owned businesses would be fantastic, queer owned makers markets, film showings, mixers etc. it would be great to see these events outside of Pride and LGBTQ+ History Month and scattered throughout the year :)

Meet Nana Duncan - Two Twos Podcast Host - IG @notnanalise

Nana Duncan is the co-host of the Two Twos podcast, one of the go-to sources of entertainment for many Black British lesbians. She lives in London and speaks her unapologetic truth on the Two Twos podcast whilst creating a safe space for people like herself while also bridging the gap between LGBTQ+ people and Cis gendered straight people.

LGBTQ+ History Month provides an opportunity for us all to reflect on how the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people have changed. How would you describe what LGBTQ+History month means to you?

LGBTQ+ History Month means a lot to me. There is a lot of history in the UK that you wouldn't know unless you go digging, which is a shame, specifically when it comes to black LGBTQ+ history. What I have learned in LGBTQ+ history has been extremely affirming. It is a time to reflect on how far we have come and celebrate the LBGT people who protested and marched for change. To celebrate the LGBT people who came before me, who fought for me to be able to celebrate myself.  

Have you seen any significant change in the world’s perception of LGBT+ people over recent years?

Yes, I have definitely seen a significant change in the world's perception of LGBT+ people. I think the world has become more accepting of different people in terms of gender and sexuality, I believe this is down to us having the language for things and representation in the media but there is still a long way to go. 

Do you believe it’s easier to be your true self in your line of work rather than if you were in a more corporate profession?

It definitely depends on the industry, I worked in advertising and that industry is extremely progressive. I think if I worked in an industry with older people, it would be a lot less progressive.  

What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating coming out but scared to do so?

I would say,  don't come out if you don't feel comfortable doing so, there is no rush. Try to be patient with yourself, the first job is to accept yourself first and become as comfortable as you can in your own skin so when you do come out, you are confident enough to take nothing less than acceptance from people. Now we are seeing people "come out" less and less, people just seem to be getting on with it, I think if you treat your sexuality as something that is normal, and not make a big deal out of it then it is normal. Straight people don't have to come out so why should queer people have to?  

What would you like to see more of at BOXPARK for the LGBTQ+ community?

Queer people always say that they don't know where to meet other queer people so I am hoping to see more LGBT hangouts, speed dating, maybe sip and paint, more chilled events for queer people to meet, make friends and more.

Recent posts

Browse the archive

Browse by category

Scroll up

Register for our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news, events and offers.