Pride Lockdown Household Chosen Families LGBTQ
All photography by Heather Glazzard
LGBTQ

How Queer Households in London Are Celebrating Pride During Lockdown

Photographer Heather Glazzard spent the day travelling around London to find out what Pride looks and feels like this year for chosen families across the city.
22 June 2020, 8:06am

LGBTQ Pride has undergone plenty of evolutions over the decades. Rewind to the 1970s, and Pride was an annual grassroots protest following the Stonewall riots in New York City – a six-day clash between police and queer bar patrons in the West Village. Later, Pride became synonymous with parade floats and celebration, a chance to be out, proud and visible on the street. And somewhere along the line, Pride became a largely brand-sponsored event across the world, with corporations like M&S and Listerine slapping rainbows on their sandwiches and mouthwash in the name of... gay rights or something?

This year, Pride in the UK feels a bit different. With trans rights suddenly up for debate and Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the globe, there feels like we have more to fight for than celebrate. But coronavirus lockdown has meant that the marches due to happen later this month have been cancelled, meaning a lot of queer and trans peeps will be spending this year in their homes with their households. With all that in mind, photographer Heather Glazzard spent the day travelling around London to find out what Pride month looks and feels like this year for queer chosen families across the city.

WAX WINGS, LEWIS, KARL AND SAMANTHA

Lewis Burton's House Queer LGBTQ Chosen Families Household

From left to right: Wax Wings, Lewis, Karl, Samantha

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Karl, Wax Wings, Lewis, Samantha

VICE: What does Pride mean to you?
Lewis: Pride started as a protest and I think with the Black Lives Matter protests happening, it's really embodied what it's about. It's not about rainbow flags and big corporate floats. It's about community and it's about fighting for equality. I'm part of the team that's organising London Trans+ Pride and we're bringing it forward to march on Saturday 27th June. Trans rights are under attack. Boris and Liz Truss have decided to ignore the results of GRA reform that trans+ people asked for an easier time to transition, Black trans women are being murdered in the States at an alarming rate and then we have a bored billionaire making up statistics and writing essays on why she discriminates against trans+ people.
Karl: Pride is about queer liberation not queer assimilation. I don’t want to have to commodify and clean up my identity to placate heteronormative culture, I want to exist in a state of change and development in comfort. Pride is about fighting for our queer siblings using our privilege and standing against the oppression and violence facing black and trans folks.

How does it feel to be celebrating Pride at home this year with each other?
Samantha: Pride gets celebrated every day in this house! I am lucky enough to share the flat with some amazing humans who are also part of the LGBTQ community. Since I will be at home this month, I want to make sure I use all the tools I have available to educate myself and hopefully educate others about our history and community.
Wax Wings: We are blessed to have each other. The four of us laugh that our house is the very acronym of "LGBT". Our queer powerhouse is always fighting for change and representation all year round, so although we’re spending it at home, the spirit of Pride still carries through.

RADAM AND TOM

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Radam and Tom

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Tom and Radam

VICE: How does it feel to be celebrating Pride at home this year with each other?
Radam: Bittersweet. Reclaiming the streets is a critical component of queer resistance – a part of me deeply craves the party. However, with mass corporate-sponsored Pride events being cancelled, we have refocused attention on giant, systemic issues hurting vulnerable members of the LGBTQIA+ community (Black Trans Lives Matter). And filled the streets with our voices in more meaningful ways. Having the chance to become closer to Tom – dancing in the living room to Chromatica together, picking up unhealthy coping mechanisms together, working through difficult but necessary conversations together – has made this "Pride season" altogether memorable.
Tom: I feel lucky to be here with Radam, who listens to my nonsense, brings me iced coffee, and politely ignores the fact that I'm currently averaging 1.2 baths per day. With them, I'm also safe in the knowledge that however differently 2020's Pride turns out, it won't be any less queer.

What's the first thing you're going to do once lockdown is over?
Radam: Get my fucking eyebrows threaded.
Tom: Fall in love.

PHEOBE, MIA, GEORGE, MATILDA, ALEX, IZZY, JOHN AND JOE

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From top left to right: Phoebe, Mia, George, Matilda, Alex and Izzy; From bottom left to right: John and Joe

VICE: What does Pride mean to you?
Izzy: Pride is a celebration of how far we’ve come, but also a reminder of how far we still have to go. It’s an achievement that this year all schools in England are required to add LGBTQ+ topics to their education syllabus, but the curriculum still has so many topics that aren’t being taught that need to be. We all remember learning about the plague, Guy Fawkes and Henry VIII, but what we don’t remember being taught is colonialism, white supremacy and historical Black figures, because our government never set the same requirements for Black education as it has now for LGBTQ+ topics. As queer people, we cannot campaign for a better world without fighting racism in the process. Pride is hope, but to hope and succeed, we must confront and address the gaping holes in our society.
John: Pride is a chance that I have to be my most authentic self. I don't feel the need to hide any aspect of my personality as I do at work or with my family. It's a celebration, where we can all look back at the hard work and determination of those who came before us and paved the way! Joe: Looking at our collective fight and history… and doing poppers.

How does it feel to be celebrating pride at home this year with each other?
George: I had two choices – to go home and be with my family in East Sussex or stay in London and be my truest self. I’m so glad I chose the latter, especially during Pride month. Home should be a safe space and our mutual understandings of each other’s lifestyles is so important.
John: While the cancellation of Pride is necessary, it all feels strange being cooped up inside. I should be in Soho Square with a pre-made gin and tonic! That being said, Pride this year I've been indulging in queer literature, pretending to work from home for eight hours a day and hiding away to play games with so many friends I haven't spoken to in forever!

PAUL AND ALESSANDRO

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Paul and Alessandro

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Alessandro and Paul

VICE: How does it feel to be celebrating pride at home this year with each other?
Alessandro: It definitely feels more quiet yet secure, since we live in queer safe space. However, staying at home is an opportunity to remember that celebrating Pride shouldn’t restrict itself to the month of June or simply to a march. We should take advantage of this opportunity to share more awareness on social media according to what is going on around the world. Especially now that oppressive laws are still enforced against LGBTQIAs, and more particularly against the trans community, even here in the UK.
Paul: Weirdly we've not known each other long – nine months – but being in lockdown has definitely brought our lil flat together and I've learnt a lot from Alessandro. Normally I'm celebrating getting drunk and very slaggy with my friends in the streets, making an absolute show of myself. But let's be honest, it's probably for the best that I won't be doing that this year!

What's the first thing you're going to do once lockdown is over?
Alessandro: The first thing that comes to my mind would be to catch up with friends at a rave and dance till dawn to some heavy techno.
Paul: Get into drag, get severely drunk on white Zinfandel – Echo Galls obvs – and get to the nearest karaoke bar and scream some power ballads down the mic, pretending that I'm Xtina. That's happening.

DODO AND PIPPA

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Dodo and Pippa

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Dodo and Pippa

VICE: How does it feel to be celebrating Pride at home this year with each other?
Dodo: I'm very lucky that I get to be with one of my best friends, so I'm fine with being at home! But it does feel a bit weird because I am usually always out with all my friends and I really miss going out with them.
Pippa: Very nice. I like spending time with Dodo and Pride is too noisy for me anyway. I think it's different when you live in an LGBTQ household – I think I'd feel isolated if I was with my family.

What's the first thing you're going to do once lockdown is over?
Dodo: I'm going to go eat out with my friends and then finally make up for all the sex I've lost out on these past few months! Pippa: I know it's sad, but I just want to get new running shoes because I've worn mine out during lockdown!

CELESTE AND CRESSI

LGBTQ Household Queer Chosen Families PRIDE UK Lockdown

From left to right: Celeste and Cressi

Queer Households Lockdown PRIDE Chosen Families LGBTQ

From left to right: Celeste and Cressi

VICE: How does it feel to be celebrating pride at home this year with each other?
Cressi: Honestly, it hasn’t felt like Pride. With Black trans folk being killed and trans rights in the UK being threatened, it’s hard to celebrate.
Celeste: I agree with Cressi, it doesn’t feel like Pride normally feels this time of year in the way that we’re used to celebrating it. Having said that, at it's heart Pride is a protest, and has its roots in the actions of a Black trans woman and a Black butch dyke literally fighting for queer liberation. In this sense maybe we’re closer to what Pride is actually about – right now – than we have been in decades. There’s a real sense of revolution in the air and I’m here for all of it.

What have you learned about each other?
Cressi: Celeste is a green juice queen with great posture and can create an outfit out of pretty much anything, even brown packing paper.
Celeste: I’ve learned that Cressi is our Virgo House Mum. She knows everything worth knowing about plants and is one of the most practical lesbians I know, which is really saying something. If I was stranded on a desert island, I‘d choose very few people ahead of Cress to help me navigate a strange new terrain.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown’s over?
Cressi: My answer would’ve been see my girlfriend but nine and half weeks was all we could manage apart! As soon as possible I’m going to visit all the museums and galleries I took for granted. And art shops... they’re my kryptonite! Celeste: Band practice, lesbian sex and magic mushrooms – though not necessarily in that order.

@daisythejones / @heather_glazzard

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.