This issue of GAY TIMES Magazine celebrates a new wave of LGBTQ+ creatives telling their stories, defining a generation and informing the mainstream of the future. It comes just as we mark the one year anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK. The past 12 months have been a challenging time for the creative industries. Touring has shut down, physical drag shows are no more, films have been delayed, and fashion is having to adapt. To say there has been very little support for our creatives is an understatement. Creativity informs culture which in turn helps us to construct our identities and to understand ourselves and others around us. Yet, when the world suffered at the hands of a global pandemic, too many creatives found themselves disregarded, left without financial aid, and their career choices deemed to be “unfeasible”. The British Government telling Fatima to “retrain in cyber” was really not the one.
But creatives – especially queer ones – are resilient people who don’t give up easily. If anything, lockdown caused most creatives to get even more, ahem, creative. In this issue we speak to a crop of drag queens on how they have adapted over the past year, and how these new ways of presenting their artform will live on beyond the pandemic. We have emerging music acts who spent 2020 figuring out how to connect with audiences and honing their craft before they can finally head back out on the road again. We have a modelling agency that is prioritising trans+ talent, making sure there’s greater representation in fashion and beyond. And we speak to 21 creatives about both the challenges they have overcome, and the positives they have experienced in spite of everything that’s going on.
As for our cover star, American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has had a stellar 12 months. Sure, she hasn’t been able to do any live shows which well and truly sucks, but she released an incredible album in the form of Punisher. Not only has it enjoyed widespread acclaim, but it earned Phoebe four Grammy nominations including Best New Artist – despite Punisher being her second album. “I think I’m new to a lot of people this year,” she tells us in our cover story. “The Best New Artist nomination is when you’ve talked to new people. I don’t actually take offense – it is funny though.” Phoebe also speaks about the hilarious furore following her guitar-smashing performance on Saturday Night Live – yet another example of misogyny being alive and well.