This month, Outernet London is exhibiting Outernet x Rankin Live: The Pride Sessions. Headed up by Outernet’s Scott Neal, the exhibition is helmed by legendary photographer Rankin and curated by Jordan Rossi. Rankin, Rossi and Joshua Heavens Onabowu all provided photography for the exhibition. The participating members of the LGBTQ+ community were also interviewed by Rossi, as well as former editor of Attitude magazine and author of Straightjacket, Matthew Todd. In what made for an incredibly immersive experience, the interviews took place simultaneously with the shoot, with the imagery being instantly uploaded to backdrops around the room. Watch the film, here.
The exhibition will be held in Outernet London’s stunning new district. A showcase of jaw-dropping architecture, the district is placed in the heart of central London and is a location for communities to experience culture in remarkable ways. The district offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience with the latest visual technologies across creative disciplines such as art, music, photography and gaming.
As the event kicked off, Rankin explained the motivation behind the event: “A lot of people might think why is Rankin, who is not LGBTQ+, doing the pride sessions? The reason I’m doing this is because I’m inquisitive. I want to be an ally and I want to understand how to navigate this world and support people,” he stated.
Swiftly after, Onabowu began shooting the unbelievable Mx Fit Gorgeous Gucci, who states that “when you choose to show vulnerability to connect with your femininity and another side of yourself you either face backlash or rejection.
DJ Fat Tony bravely opened up about his insecurities. “It’s not until I got to about 52 I really realised I’m okay with being me and that’s amazing,” he said.
Allan Carr his effortless exuberance and humour to the shoot. When asked if it was easy to come out, the star simply replied “Well, I was never in”. Going on to discuss LGBTQ+ representation today Carr said: “Look at the amazing people we have now with nail varnish, non-binary men wearing dresses. I look like Vin Diesel compared to them. I just wish maybe I’d have pushed the boundaries a bit more. I was maybe a bit sheepish. But anyway, that’s called Evolution, isn’t it?”
Providing a shocking tale was Shahmir Sanni, whose sexuality was outed by the UK government after he blew the whistle on a corrupt campaign he was volunteering for. “The reason why I was outed was purely because they understood the ramifications that it would have for someone that looked like me. So lets out this brown Muslim person because it’ll traumatise him and silence him.”
Virgin provided a tear-jerking tale of the lack of acceptance and marginalisation they faced in a small conservative American town. “I would shake hands and say peace be with you to this guy that I would share a few with and then he would match my head into a Locker on Monday that really like does something to you, you know after a while and anybody who’s queer or marginalised knows what that feels like.”
Finally, Alejandro Munoz, a transgender woman, explained the issues she faced with finding her identity: “my identity was always a big problem in the beginning, especially I started transitioning really early when I was 16.” However, she now admits that the worst times of her life are behind her. “I finally feel so comfortable in my skin and I’m so happy.”