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Nyle DiMarco is an outspoken activist, actor and model who lives at the intersection of his sexual fluidity and deafness. In our cover shoot with Nyle, artist Cacho Falcon has painted ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language across his body in what we hope to be a strong message of support to the queer deaf community. Nyle is one of 25 deaf people in his family, and is now using his platform to educate and inform people of just how inaccessible part of our world remains to hearing impaired people. After becoming the first deaf person to win America’s Next Top Model in 2015, Nyle is fully aware of the power and importance of visibility, and speaks with Gay Times on raising awareness of ASL, and the problems that queer deaf people still face.
“There is a massive number of people, groups of people, who are not being heard or who are overlooked. Despite the power of social media, which could be a useful tool to educate people, we've become so divided and so afraid to open up, listen, and communicate. We need to start listening to each other. How can 466 million people with hearing loss join in on that conversation and find their ‘identity’ if they are denied access to what they're saying? Often there are not interpreters at Pride events for Deaf LGBTQ people and allies. The best solution is to have Deaf and people with disabilities involved in organising Pride events.”
With nearly 8 million followers on YouTube, and close to 7 million in Twitter and Instagram, Tyler Oakley has become a pioneer of the new wave of social media celebrities, with a global reach that in many cases outshines even the biggest names in film and TV. From humble beginnings in Tyler’s bedroom, speaking to a webcam and a handful of followers, he has created an entire brand for himself as he rides the wave of YouTube’s popularity. Far from complacent, Tyler has been openly gay from day one, and now uses his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues. He’s appeared on Ellen, met Barack and Michelle Obama, raised thousands of dollars for the Trevor Project - all while speaking directly to his millions of followers in a personal, accessible way. Here, Tyler speaks on his latest project: Chosen Family, and why queer people need to become aware of their privilege.
“While we are so wrapped up in what we're trying to fight for in our local communities, we have to remember that our chosen family is truly global, and while we might be fighting for same-sex marriage in one part of the world, a lot of queer people are fighting just to exist in another part of the world. I just try to be mindful that the queer experience is not something that is uniform, and my privileges should not absolve me of working towards equality for people who don't have the same privileges.”
UK Black Pride began in 2005 with a minibus trip to the seaside, organised by lesbian and bisexual women of colour. From its humble beginnings, UKBP has grown exponentially - attracting LGBTQ people of colour from around the country to unite and celebrate at the intersection of their identities. This year, Gay Times is proud to support UKBP as their official media partner. In celebration of this announcement, Lady Phyll, co-founder of UKBP (the ‘co’ stands for community), graces our cover for the first time.
We’re partnering with UKBP to raise awareness about the incredible work they do, and the importance of events and organisations such as theirs. We’re constantly learning how to be better allies to everyone across the far reaches of the colourful spectrum that is the queer community, and UKBP as a collective continue to educate and inform us how best to step up to the plate as a truly representative and inclusive company. Lady Phyll and the entire team at UK Black Pride are demonstrating the power of loud, unapologetic unity in the face of hatred and bigotry - often unfortunately from sectors of the LGBTQ initialism.
"Until we all have the same rights, until we all do not face any form of injustice, until we all have proper access to housing, to health, to school, to education, then there will always be a need for Black Pride. In an ideal world, we wouldn't need [any Prides] would we? We wouldn't have to deal with championing or fighting for rights, for LGBTQ people, but we don't live in an ideal world because there's homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, but there's also racism. Black Pride was set up [not only to celebrate POC], and have pride of place, but to also combat systemic racism."
Elsewhere in the issue: Sadiq Khan pens a letter to the LGBTQ people of London; Manevendra Singh Gohil, the first gay Prince of India, on using his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues; Yves on standing shoulder to shoulder with our trans siblings; an exclusive look at the new exhibition Queer Friends; Aaron Altaras on his new role as a footballer coming to grips with his sexuality; Simon Gage reflects upon meeting Alexander McQueen ahead of the release of the upcoming documentary on the fashion icon; plus products, style, fashion, tech, travel, opinion and much more.
UK cover price: £4.95