With literally every single queer bar, club and venue closed until further notice and all Pride parades and other queer festivals canceled this year, it looks pretty dim on the queer visibility front right now. But all clubs and bars are closed and festival canceled – what difference does it make, you might wonder? Of course, every nightlife and cultural space has its importance – but for the queer community these places and events are not just for fun and socializing, they are important platforms for activism and for the fight for acceptance and equality. There is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, even here in Berlin. Queer visibility is an important act against those nasty phobias – and for queers to disappear into quarantine behind locked doors and behind anonymous masks is quite the setback.
Musician, stage performer, editor, and Berlin’s only real Diva Kaey has come up with a clever plan on how queer visibility can continue in a creative way in times of Corona. For over a month now, she has taken the time during the quarantine to sew hundreds of colorful facemasks with rainbows, sequins, and Tom of Finland prints for the queer community. This way we can be out and proud every day when we’re complying with the new face mask rules in the city.
We loved this idea so much that we teamed up with her to create a photo series showing some of her cutest mask designs on some prominent members of Berlin’s LGBTQ+ community who have all given us a statement about the current situation. Some of the masks have been exclusively made for the series and the entire set of 6 masks along with photo series shot by our new iHeartBerlin photographer Roger Sabaté will be donated to the collection of the Schwules Museum in Berlin.
“I wonder what consequences the lockdown will have for the queer community. Will our meeting places like bars, clubs and self-help associations survive? I also wonder how visible we will be when all CSDs are canceled. Therefore I sew face masks with the rainbow flag, a Tom of Finland print and the trans flag.”
– Kaey, Editor at Siegessäule & Singer
“I have been living in a small one-room apartment in Neukölln for 10 years. Normally I am not at home much, now I am every evening on 36 square meters. That sucks! I love Berlin’s nightlife, I lack social contacts, dancing, and partying.”
– Dana Müller, Editor at Lesbian Magazine L-Mag
“I believe that in the end, everything will be exactly the same as before, nothing will change, neither positive nor negative! Maybe we will be better prepared for something like this in the future.”
– Florian Kunze-Forrest, specialist nurse for psychiatry and podcaster at Stadt.Land.Schwul
“Due to the Corona situation, most of my career-critical projects have been canceled or postponed for this year. Social media is a great way to bring a smile to the faces of people who are hit even harder by this crisis and who hold the fort day after day.”
– Riccardo Simonetti, Influencer & Entertainer
“For me as an extroverted personality, social distancing and isolation in quarantine are really particularly difficult to bear. But when this crisis is over, we will all join hands and fight for a better future.”
– The Darvish, Performance Artist, Event & Party Organizer
“I can do my regular work at home in my home office. But all my gigs as a drag queen are on hold at the moment. Now I’m focusing on developing a concept for my own show, which I will present when the contact ban is lifted.”
– Karlie Kant, Communication Designer & Drag Queen
We want to thank Kaey for making these fun queer masks and for collaborating with us on this project. And of course, all our gorgeous models who took the time to be part of this. If you are looking for your own unique face mask you can have a look here in our face mask guide. Stay safe and stay visible!