7 queer creatives tell us how they define visibility
Miss Fame, Lord Troy, and Alok Vaid-Menon talk the importance of LGBTQ+ representation during Pride month and beyond
Viktor & Rolf
This year, Pride month will be backdropped by mounting uncertainty over LGBTQ rights. In March, lawmakers in Florida passed the Don’t Say Gay Bill, a controversial piece of legislation that restricts schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity. Meanwhile, a third of transgender children could lose acess to gender-affirming medical care, with ten states employing “bounty hunters” against medical providers who dare to veer from the law. And, a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v Wade has many people worrying that the same could be done to marriage equality.
All this to say: being seen and heard during Pride month feels more urgent now than it has been in a long time. So, never one to shirk from making a statement (quite literally) Viktor & Rolf has passed the mic to seven queer creatives, who have come together to speak on the importance of visibility and how this manifests in their daily lives. Miss Fame, Alok Vaid-Menon, Eliad Cohen, Lord Troy, Rai Flowers, Pierre Amaury Crespeau, Nicky Champa, and Max Balegde travel through their own relationships with the word as it relates to their unique experiences. Queer people are not some homogenous monolith and these individuals are testement to that, their queerness lying at the intersection of so many other aspects of identity – be it race, gender, or class.
Each one of them, however, lands on the same note: “that they are fighting every day as creatives to be visible”, as Miss Fame says – decked in a huge feathered confection from the brand’s AW21 collection. It’s a sentiment shared by singer-songwriter Lord Troy who defines visibility as “everyone getting a seat at the table.” Drawing on their own experience as a person who is “queer and fat and feels othered”, Troy stresses that acceptance starts from within, “self-work and understanding what you care about.” Israeli actor Eliad Cohen bolsters that message, describing how visibility is a platform for confidence and pride. “We’ve come a long way fighting for our rights, but we still have a long way to go”, he says, “we need to be visible for the world to know that we are here, and we are here to stay.”
It’s a statement that chimes with the work of GLAAD, with whom Viktor & Rolf has been partnered since 2021, amplifying the non-profit’s agenda-setting message with a slew of campaigns and financial backing. Born in 1985, GLAAD was founded to protest the defamatory coverage of gay and lesbian people in the media, and it continues to drive LGBTQ+ representation in advertising and entertainment today. With this in mind, perhaps the most moving of Viktor & Rolf’s short films comes from Alok Vaid-Menon, whose dispatch goes beyond the concept of traditional visibility. “Yes, we need LGBTQ+ people to be visible, but we need everyone to be visible in their support for us,” the artist-activist says, challenging us to “create a world where people don’t have to be visible in order to be believed”.
Click through the gallery below to watch the videos yourself and head over to Viktor & Rolf to see more.