Performer speaks his mind

Lance Lightyear

Portland musical performer Lance Lightyear has become a voice of the urban queer community.

The 25-year-old recently released a single called Secret Garden, promising that there’s more to come. He describes the body of work, called Queer Urban Memoir, as an audio journal on being queer and coloured in an urban space.

It was through speaking to others, he said, that he came to understand some of the experiences of other queer people – and that he realised he was not alone in how he was feeling.

“We are inhabiting the spaces people said we shouldn’t be in,” he told Plainsman. “On my journey I have found allies; they understand the mission – that people should not take advantage of who we are and why we are.”

Talking about his experience of “the not so good parts” about being queer, he said he had felt belittled by catcalling, being questioned about why he wore make-up, being made fun of in high school, and someone telling him it’s only a phase. However, he said, this had somehow liberated him to be himself and “live his truth” through what he does best – music.

“It’s challenging speaking about the systematic oppression. We don’t have the opportunity to express who we are. There may not even be spaces in Mitchell’s Plain that people could go to and (people they can) reach out to,” said Lance.

Weighing in on the matter, performer and poet, Maam Madamme, also from Portland, said: “We need to be having meaningful conversations around gender, sexuality and orientation. We need to accept instead of fighting because of lack of knowledge.”

She said that “QUM” (Queer Urban Memoir) was bigger than Lance himself, and that he was representing queer people who were unable to represent themselves. “There is the ugly, in being shunned, spoken about in a negative way but then there is also the glorious part about being queer and being yourself,” she said.

As creatives they create a support structure for themselves even though there is no support for them in Mitchell’s Plain, said Lance. “People create a perception of who you are before you know it. I am boldly and proudly queer,” said Lance.

Lance Lightyear’s single is available on SoundCloud and for more information you can find him on Facebook. He will be performing at The Show House on the corner of Church and Spine roads, Strandfontein Village on Saturday February 1 at 5pm. Tickets are R50 each. For more information send a WhatsApp message to 060 317 0580.