[F]or the latest edition of British Vogue, seminal fashion photographer Tim Walker travelled to Jamaica to shoot the country’s “Gully Queens” – the displaced LGBT community who are forced to live in Kingston storm drains. Jamaica is an incredibly dangerous place for LGBT people to live. A recent survey conducted by Jamaica’s only LGBT advocacy group Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, Allsexuals and Gays (J-Flag) found that 93% of people asked agree that “homosexuality is a sin”. This, combined with the demonization of homosexuals and transsexuals in the country’s popular media creates a high-risk environment for LGBT people, especially those who are unable to find housing or work.
Describing his decision to photograph the Gully Queens and to raise awareness for Jamaica’s vulnerable LGBT community, Walker said “I found the notion of an aggression towards homosexuality in Jamaica sad and regressive. To me, the Gully Queens are emblematic of this injustice, which is what led me to photograph them. There is the chance, through photography, to give something that is very wrong in the world the visibility to make it right.”
Walker has no released 30 signed portraits of the Gully Queens, who bear signature make up and rainbow-inspired accessories. All proceeds will be donated to the Gully Queens charity, which aims to provide shelter, offer discrimination free healthcare and improve employment opportunities. See a series of the portraits below.