‘The first time that I went out dressed as a woman, I guess when I was like eighteen, was at nightclubs with my friends’, Lucy Fizz tells me. ‘I feel like that sort of environment is a bit more welcoming than kind of just stepping out into the street and being in the harsh light of day if you can understand what I mean’.
Now the star of award-winning documentary LUCY: My TransgenderTransgender Life, dancer at Sink The Pink, face of Glitterbox and a transgender icon, it seems Lucy’s come a long way from those days. She tells me about growing up in a small town in the North which she describes as not ‘necessarily a safe space’ for her to be her true self. But that changed dramatically when Lucy moved to London and discovered a burgeoning nightlife culture that she later found a home in.
‘The kind of people that I’ve met through the east London queer scene have been people who are really understanding and open about my trans-ness. It’s through knowing them and being welcomed and accepted that’s made me a feel a lot more comfortable with my identity as a transgender woman’. Lucy explains that, prior to becoming heavily involved with Sink The Pink, her identity wasn’t something she was particularly open about.
‘Living my life as Lucy, now I feel like I’m embracing my identity as a trans woman. Being part of that scene and the kind of family that I’ve gained from that in a way, being part of that nightlife culture, has really given me the strength to do that’.
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The huge role that nightlife and club culture has played in the queer community over the years is undeniable. Its prominence is the subject of a new film by Smirnoff that Lucy stars in alongside DJ Honey Dijon, French LGBTQ+ icon Kiddy Smile, performance artist Xnthony and Le Fil. ‘The advert follows a few different groups of LGBT people on a night out’, Lucy explains. ‘It shows everyone coming together for a party and how having that kind of diversity at a party is a good thing. It brings all these elements of enjoyment to a night’.
Smirnoff’s research found that while 12 percent of millennials identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, there’s still a real lack of awareness of the non-binary community and a particular absence of positive role models in the media which is something Lucy has noticed herself as well. ‘I never had anything like this growing up. There wasn’t really anything that talked about it in a positive way in the media when I was sixteen’, she says. ‘To be part of a campaign where the queer or LGBT community is shown in this super positive way, I think it’s a really important message to put out there, not just for other LGBT people, but kind of the wider public audience as well’.
Having been involved with Sink The Pink and the east London drag scene for roughly six or seven years now, Lucy’s watched the environment change over the years. And while there’s still awareness to be raised, Lucy thinks that nightlife that has become so integral to the queer-community still has a lot of momentum to it. ‘I feel like it’s still growing, and I feel like people are becoming more aware and you know they’re gaining an understanding of maybe what it is to be trans, also it’s kind of branching out into more of a mainstream nightlife culture’.
‘SinkThePink have been to loads of music festivals around the country, I’ve been to loads like Glitterbox in Ibiza, which have more of a mixed crowd. And by having the drag queens there, I guess, it’s freeing that to a crowd who wouldn’t necessarily go to a queer night. You get to see these people and have fun with them and realise that they’re just out to have a good time and more often than not if you’re with a group of drag queens, they’re probably the people at the party having the most fun!’ Lucy says. She’s also careful to clarify though, that drag and transgender are, of course, two distinct experiences and very different things.
However, it’s the widening of the space and embracing of broader audiences that Lucy identifies as holding a huge significance. Simply having nights like Sink The Pink, she says, ‘where people can maybe go and explore who they are, they have the safety to be whoever they want to be in that nightlife setting. It’s really important for people who are looking for a safe space to explore their gender identity.’
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.