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Timberlina’s speed dating and more: Queer and Now at Tate Britain

Timberlina’s speed dating and more: Queer and Now at Tate Britain

A close-up of drag performer Timberlina

Queer and Now festival will bring the cream of London’s LGBTI artists to Tate Britain this Saturday 23 June.

The one-day free festival will celebrate LGBTI culture at the iconic space in Millbank.

Significantly, Tate isn’t new to LGBTI appreciation. Last year the gallery also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK with the exhibition Queer British Art (1861-1967). It displayed works of pioneer LGBTI painters and sculptors who challenged heteronormativity.

Why ‘Queer’?

‘Queer is much more than a just collective noun for the LGBTI community. It’s not about mirroring normativity, it’s about celebrating difference. It adds freedom to our lives by allowing people to step beyond the boundaries of LGBTI,’ Scott explained.

‘By joining together to embrace and value our unique selves, we are able to continue our fight against transphobia, homophobia and all the issues they intersect with, including racism, sexism, classism, and ableism.’

An artist performing at Tate Britain during Queer and Now festival
A performance from last year’s Queer and Now | Photo: Courtesy of Tate Britain

A conversation about the future of the queer community

‘The festival this year focuses on bringing together our communities to consider how a range of queer lives can be found within the works at Tate Britain,’ said E-J Scott.

He curated Queer and Now festival with Tate’s Learning teams and in partnership with Pride in London, UK Black Pride, Regard and Trans Pride Brighton.

Furthermore, Scott hopes the festival will spark a conversation about where LGBTI people are heading together as a queer community and how ‘we will remember this queer moment in time in the future’.

‘[We’ll be] celebrating the creativity of our communities through craft, art, literature, film, music, and performance. It’s about finding ourselves in the queer past to shape a diverse queer future not to forget, overlook or erase.’

What to do

‘There’s just so much to do it will make you dizzy,’ said Scott.

A close up of trans activist Kuchanga.
Trans activist KUCHENGA will host a panel about trans-inclusivity | Photo: @kuchenga Instagram

Visitors, in fact, will be spoiled for choice. Here are the best events to attend:

  • Bird la Bird’s Queer People’s Travelling History Show
  • Sadie Sinner aka The Songbird, the founder of the Cocoa Butter Club, celebrating cabaret performers of color
  • Chinese drag king Whiskey Chow
  • Trans activist KUCHENGA leading the Intergenderational Questioning Circle
  • The international premiere of the film 69 plus the Q&A with the director and original club members of Europe’s oldest social group for gay leathermen
  • London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé reading from her history book From Prejudice To Pride: A History of the LGBTQ+ Movement
  • Drag queen Timberlina’s Library and Archive Speed dating
  • The queer curatorial tour of the All Too Human exhibition

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