By Alejandro Prieto
Montevideo, Jun 14 (EFE).- LGBTQI+ musicians in Uruguay are using their art to break binary gender norms and fight homophobia in the south American nation.
Kevin Royk, who identifies as a ladyboy, believes there is no distinction between their artistic expression and LGBT activism.
“I think that almost all artists are activists, too. There are very few who are just artists,” Royk tells Efe.
Because of their gender, Royk says that getting up on the stage or simply going out on the street is a form of protest.
“I’ve always identified as a ladyboy, which is a mix of the two things, but when I go out on the street, perform live and share with others, it is a form of protest, not being super feminine nor super manly as well as being Afro,” Royk, of Afro-Uruguayan heritage, says, adding that all the obstacles in their career could be classed as homophobic.
Royk is set to take part in a panel discussion for Afro-Uruguayans and indigenous members of the LGBTQI+ community, part of the second Ibero-American forum Armarios Abiertos (“Open Closets”), organized in collaboration with the Spanish cultural center network for Pride Month.
Although candombe is the genre most often associated with the Afro-Uruguayan community, as a youngster, Royk was heavily inspired by international pop stars like Michael Jackson.
“I always liked Black role models from Jamaica, the United States, people with the same skin color as me but who represented a different type of music, lyricism and state of being,” they add.
For singer-songwriter and teacher María José Hernández, music and activism run on parallel tracks.