CH­ESTER LOCK­HART.

The mu­si­cian, ac­tor and di­rec­tor shares what makes him proud.

Gay Times Magazine - - CONTENTS: - Pho­tog­ra­phy Maxwell Poth Words Daniel Me­garry

You’ve seen him on­line, on screen and now on the pages of Gay Times. But what makes the quirky mu­si­cian, ac­tor and pro­ducer proud? We popped Ch­ester in front of our cam­eras and fired ques­tions at him to find out.

Ev­ery­one in the LGBTQ com­mu­nity has their own unique mem­o­ries of Pride. Whether it’s the over­whelm­ing ex­cite­ment of the first pa­rade you ever at­tended, the abil­ity to meet oth­ers just like you – and not like you – or the sense of be­long­ing you’ve been search­ing for your whole life. As Pride sea­son draws to a close across the UK, we asked singer-song­writer and ac­tor Ch­ester Lock­hart to share the four things he as­so­ciates with Pride that have helped shape his life as an out-and-proud gay man.

Sun.

The first time I at­tended a Pride was in Los An­ge­les at 18. I was work­ing as a brand am­bas­sador for Neu­tro­gena hand­ing out sun­screen sam­ples to ev­ery­one in the pa­rade. LA is blaz­ing hot in the sum­mer and I re­mem­ber feel­ing like I was be­ing cre­mated dur­ing the en­tire event, but be­cause I’d never been around that many queer peo­ple be­fore, I had a sense of con­stant eu­pho­ria through it all. I was glad to be baked alive among my fel­low ho­mo­sex­u­als. I must’ve squirted 20 gal­lons of SPF onto ran­dom strangers that week­end and to this day, when­ever I smell those chem­i­cals, I im­me­di­ately re­call draw­ing happy faces on the backs of bears in Cal­i­for­nia – and you can clearly see I can use white-out for foun­da­tion, so I ap­ply sun­block quite of­ten.

Colour.

Pride is a place for peo­ple of all back­grounds, eth­nic­i­ties, creeds, shapes and sizes to come to­gether and cel­e­brate their in­di­vid­u­al­ity, and through our ‘oth­er­ness’ to join to­gether as a com­mu­nity. You can truly travel the world in just one block. When I think of Pride, I’m im­me­di­ately bathed in rib­bons, signs, pins, cloth­ing and skin tones of all dif­fer­ent hues march­ing to­gether. We’re all learn­ing about each other and grow­ing from one an­other. Though we come from dif­fer­ent hemi­spheres, we share a big sick­en­ing rain­bow para­sol (mine is mostly black).

Cre­ativ­ity.

It’s no news that queer peo­ple are sim­ply the most tal­ented and bril­liant hu­mans that ex­ist on earth. Facts are facts, Amer­ica (don’t @ me). As an en­ter­tainer (or pro­fes­sional hooker, whichever you pre­fer), I’m al­ways in awe of the ex­cel­lence our com­mu­nity con­sis­tently achieves. We are out­stand­ing be­cause we’ve had to fight harder ev­ery step of the way, and we are great be­cause we’ve had no choice. When I see a fierce drag queen, a ge­nius sci­en­tist, or an out-and-proud sports player, I’m over­whelmed with grat­i­tude that I can call these peo­ple my friends, my com­rades, my sis­ters.

Fam­ily.

As a teen, I was re­lent­lessly bul­lied by boys in mo­tocross pants and the kids in my Chris­tian youth group who were sup­posed to be my friends. I lived for a long time with­out a home and I have seen so many young queer peo­ple stru†le to find ac­cep­tance and ne­ces­si­ties like food and shel­ter. The peo­ple who were the first to reach out a help­ing hand with freshly-painted nails were other gay men. It wasn’t un­til I met other queer peo­ple that I truly dis­cov­ered what it meant to be­long. We are all marginalised in vary­ing de­grees. Some of us are more priv­i­leged than oth­ers, but we un­der­stand what sets us apart ac­tu­ally brings us to­gether. There is no other com­mu­nity of peo­ple where you can be com­pletely dif­fer­ent but still truly be­long. Maybe you’re a 40 year-old, foot­ball fa­natic, pan­sex­ual fe­male ar­chae­ol­o­gist from Michi­gan who wants to cut loose and talk about the

most re­cent fos­sil... or maybe you’re a half-Korean, mu­si­cal theatre ob­sessed, an­ime-lov­ing, Ce­line Dion-stan­ning, gay goth pop leg­end like me. When I think of Pride, I think of strangers em­brac­ing each other in the streets be­cause we feel love on such a deep level for one an­other with­out hav­ing to know any­thing about each other. I think of my best friends and I drop­ping our asses as low as they can pos­si­bly go and re­al­is­ing I am fi­nally ac­cepted for who I am and cel­e­brated for what I do. Be­ing gay is the best thing that could have hap­pened to me. I am thank­ful ev­ery day for my ex­pe­ri­ences – whether they were happy or dif­fi­cult – and I am so PROUD to be a part of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

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