The Deep C Divas are a Yorkshire based lesbian a cappella singing group of some 14 years standing. In addition to singing and performing within the UK they love attending choral festivals and getting to see and hear fantastic LGBT choirs from around the world. The international festivals they have attended as a choir include GALA San Jose 2000, Various Voices Berlin 2001, Sydney Gay Games VI 2002, Various Voices Paris 2005 and Various Voices London 2009.
We love that they are supporting the bid to host the Gay Games in London by donating to our 100 Out campaign because, “the Gay Games are dear to our hearts! In fact the Deep C Divas were formed in January 1999 after two of its members had attended the 1998 Amsterdam Gay Games and seen choirs performing in the cultural festival there. Being singers they though “heh we could do that”. So they did just that and four years later attended the Sydney Gay Games VI and took part in a brilliant choral SingOut program, the highlight of which was singing at the Sydney Opera house. It remains the peak singing experience of a lifetime for many of the Divas.
“We are living in important times in terms of LGBT history. Whilst noting the continued appalling abuse of LGBT people in many countries, we in the UK can view ourselves as being relatively fortunate in terms of protection of human rights. Even if some of those rights are only relatively recently won. Having said that the current moves towards equalization of marriage here and elsewhere in the world show that we are not there yet and that many people are not happy for us to simply be us. London2018 would be a great opportunity to show the nation that WE are happy to be us even if some of them might prefer us not to be. There is nothing quite as contagious as a whole lot of people having a good time. The London2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games showed us all that. And anyway what else is Clare Balding going to do in 2018?
“One of our members was in London volunteering this summer and was overwhelmed at times by the atmosphere of the place and enthusiasm of the locals and participants. She comments: “I thought that the London2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were pretty gay anyway, I mean thousands of men and women in shocking pink and purple fluoro jackets smiling and helping people out. How gay can you get? Oh and everybody being friendly to everybody all over the place – that’s definitely a common denominator of every large LGBT cultural event I’ve ever attended.” London would certainly be well primed for a Gay Games.”
But why should London host the Gay Games in London2018? “The legacy of course! Seems obvious to us. What an absolutely fantastic opportunity for athletes to compete in world-class venues. Not to mention a proven transport and infrastructure that worked so well during the summer of 2012. Oh, and a population of Londoners keen to recreate a flavour of that joy and jubilation. But it’s not just about sport. The Gay Games has a reputation for staging an excellent cultural program too. This gives singers, dancers, artists, instrumentalists and performers from around the world huge opportunities to meet, mix and make magic together. London would provide the perfect backdrop for that and what a choice of venues. We attended a very successful Various Voices London 2009 at the Southbank Centre, which was a stunning success. London provides so many possibilities for performers and the public alike.”
Any memories of the Gay Games or other LGBT events? “Ah so many memories: singing on stage at the Sydney Opera House (Gay Games VI, Sydney); singing with 400 other voices in the massed international choir for the opening ceremony of Gay Games VI as “backing” for K.D.Lang singing “You’ll never walk alone”; the impromptu singathons that erupted in the foyers of Parisian theatres during Various Voices 2005, massed performance of 600 voices performing Carmina Burana during Various Voices London 2009; hanging out with athletes at the Gay Games VI “Olympic Park” in Sydney; racing from massed choir rehearsals to see and support friends competing in the Ballroom dancing, the table tennis, the marathon….the list goes on and on…”
“The Gay Games are such a fantastic event. We are almost evangelical about them. The fact that they are open to all: all genders, all orientations, all abilities, all ethnicities, all religions, is so unique and so special. Sadly the level of homophobia in mainstream sport is still high. It is crucial that the Gay Games take place so athletes have a safe environment in which to participate and excel. LGBT folk in the arts and music have, in many arenas, had a rather easier time of it than our sporting buddies! Queerness has always required strength, stamina and spirit – the Gay Games nourish and celebrate those attributes in all.
On a more sombre note there remain substantial barriers for participation in the Gay Games for many potential athletes and performers in terms of their personal financial circumstances and likely anti-LGBT oppression within their own countries. Travel to the UK from other countries is prohibitive to most LGBT people in the world and immigration status remains a difficulty for so many. One of the choirs we were fortunate enough to share the stage with during Gay Games VI had a choir member who was refused a tourist visa for entry to Australia because he was deemed to be an immigration risk. There must be many such stories. Whilst the Gay Games may be open to all that doesn’t always mean accessible to all. We need to remember that the world at large is not unprejudiced. There are many who could not possibly attend such an event without risking personal injury, torture and even death upon return to their own country. There are those who by attending previous Gay Games have placed their own safety in jeopardy.”
Thanks for backing the bid Deep C Divas.