Queers Built This is a project about queer inventiveness and DIY culture then, now, and tomorrow.
Earlier this month, VICE kicked off our Queers Built This series with mini DIY Pride parade floats made by 11 different LGBTQ artists. As part of the project, we invited anyone and everyone to create their own floats representing the parts of queer and trans life that are most important to them right now.
Here are some of the beautiful, colorful, radical, special floats you all made.
“Our photographs are typically very playful scenes of miniature animals in fanciful environments. Initially, the tiny Pride float was intended to be an expression of celebration, but the piece evolved into a more layered investigation of loss and remembrance.
This float is a plea for no more trans lives lost and so it is necessarily a plea for the acceptance, support, and protection of our trans brothers and sisters.
As white cis women, our education as allies is ongoing, but we understand that Pride is many things. It is political. It is about the creation of art and community. It is joyous and painful. This float is literally and figuratively a tiny attempt to convey some of that complex ethos.” —C+C Mini Factory
“Throughout quarantine, I have been doing long-distance art projects with my best friend's children (ages 10 and 8) in Birmingham, AL… I am in DC. Since Pride parades have been canceled throughout the world, we decided to create mini Pride floats and discuss the importance of celebrating diversity and supporting our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors.
My float was inspired by the song 'Wild Horses' by The Rolling Stones. The slogan ‘Y’all means All’ is borrowed from the Human Rights Campaign.
‘I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you've decided to show me the same
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn't drag me away…
…Wild, wild horses we'll ride them some day’
Just in case, I’ve attached a photo of the float made by my friend’s kids in Birmingham, AL.”
“With Chicago cited as one of the leading metropolitan police departments in America that fails to adequately protect transgender lives, and specifically, Black transgender lives, this float imagines a Chicago that celebrates Pride, honoring the transgender community, while an abolished police force burns to the ground. This float also salutes the protesters who burned several Chicago PD vehicles in recent Black Lives Matter protests, and stands in solidarity with the message that Black Trans Lives Matter, and are safer and better protected with a defunded police force.” —Beth Argus
“At the end of last year me and my boyfriend got engaged in Panama. We are both Panamanian. and gay marriage is still not legal here, so for now we can just keep fighting for equality. The two figures on the float represent us, a full celebration of our love, a pre-party to the wedding I know one day we will have.
The celebration of Pride for me is a mix of strength and joy. The strength of a community and its continuous efforts to reach equality. The joy of people that are now bonded not only by their shared struggles but by the celebration that comes from accepting and loving yourself truly.” —Rafa Arrocha
—Submitted by Avery Beebe
—Submitted by George Starman
"Our float was inspired by the many flags, banners, and posters that fill the streets every Pride, as well as the powerful imagery we’ve witnessed in the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the globe.
We were particularly struck by a banner featuring the phrase 'Let Equality Bloom.' This message soon blossomed into our visual, made of colorful, hand-crafted paper flowers. With our virtual float this year, we wanted to show our support for the LGBTQ+ community, and make sure that the continued fight for equal rights for all is still seen, heard, and celebrated — loud and proud, just as it should be." —Taylor James
"As the parent of a queer daughter, I wanted to contribute as an ally, so I sourced things from around the house and the dollar store; it's my way of saying 'whatever floats your boat.'" —Andrea Wilkerson
"My float is inspired by the Lavender Menace, which originated as a derisive term Betty Friedan used in 1969 to refer to lesbians in the women's movement. Basically, Friedan (and others) felt that including lesbians in the movement would be bad for the women's lib cause. A group of radical lesbians reclaimed the term and about 40 of them—wearing shirts they hand-dyed shades of purple and silkscreened with the words "Lavender Menace"—staged a 'zap in' in 1970 at the Second Congress to Unite Women to protest the total lack of lesbian speakers that weekend. I decided to reimagine the lavender menace as a high-femme swarm of lilac fighter planes and bisexual butterflies, done in full 80s prom camp, here to fuck your shit up." —Rachel Wilkerson Miller
Rachel Wilkerson Miller is the author of The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People. Follow her on Twitter.