THE SEPTEMBER SIX.
“In the current state of America, if you don’t have a message that you’re pushing out, if it’s not some sort of activism, then why are you doing it?” That’s a quote that looms heavy in our September cover feature with Hollywood’s most outspoken LGBTQ ally, Chloë Grace Moretz. Her fantastic new movie The Miseducation of Cameron Post aims to shine a spotlight on the barbaric practice of gay conversion therapy that continues to be a huge problem across the globe.
It’s a stark reminder of how far we as a community have to go to achieve total equality. But being a creative group of people, we are very resourceful when it comes to using art as a way of making real social change.
With such a wealth of queer creative talent out there right now, we’ve found ourselves with six cover stars for our September issue. Yes, we know it’s traditionally supposed to be a more fashion-led narrative, but with this much LGBTQ brilliance wanting to talk about their projects, we’ve dedicated it to them instead. That’s a trend we’re more than happy to push.
Art as activism is the thread that weaves through the editorial in this issue. From the long-awaited debut album from MNEK, to Hungry’s unique interpretation of drag, each of our September Six are using their craft to highlight not only issues we as a marginalised community face, but also the challenges they encounter within the community themselves. Most importantly, however, they are doing it using the power of entertainment to inspire a new generation of LGBTQ youth.
The impact pop culture can have on mobilising conversation is sorely underestimated far too frequently. Having openly gay popstars like MNEK and Jake Shears releasing albums that thrive with stories of same-sex love is invaluable. Russell Tovey continues to be a high-profile openly gay actor operating in an industry that has a history of hiding queer men. As Drag Race’s appeal grows even bigger, it has inevitably become an entry point for mainstream society into queer culture. How many straight people did you see on social media this year asking what a Vanjie was? We bet they know now. And elsewhere, Hungry’s avant-garde drag is pushing the artform into new realms.
That being said, none of the incredible talent that adorns our pages would be able to continue pushing the gay agenda so openly and freely if it wasn’t for the actions of the LGBTQ community’s OG trailblazer Marsha P. Johnson. As a tribute to the activist – who would’ve turned 73 on 24 August – we take a look back at the story behind the legend. Marsha was a key figure in the Stonewall Riots movement that gave birth to the annual Pride parades we celebrate today. It’s because of this very special woman of colour that you’ve been free to celebrate your queerness in the streets of cities all over the world this summer, wearing your finest rainbow-coloured outfits, and enjoying moments of queer bliss. Never forget that. Marsha’s impact on queer history is immeasurable.
So while we pay homage to the lady that paved the way for queer liberation as we know it today, we are also acknowledging how art as activism will help us moving forward to amplify LGBTQ voices. “There are billions of fucking gay people and their stories haven’t been told,” Russell says in his brilliant cover interview. Here at Gay Times we’re willing and waiting to give every last one of them the cover feature they deserve. In the meantime, get stuck into the six we have waiting for you on the pages ahead – as well as the wealth of queer talent inbetween.