‘Kin’ photographic exhibition by Stacey Yates
An inside look at Amsterdam’s first Drag King House (Silly Dick, Club ChUrch, 2019).
Falling on Jersey’s Pride weekend, ‘Kin’ photographic exhibition presents us with an inside look at Amsterdam’s first Drag King House – The House of Løstbois. The show will display a number of portraits by Jersey born, Amsterdam based documentary photographer Stacey Yates aka The Bill Please.
Born out of a drag king academy set up by drag educator and mother ‘Taka Taka’ and artist‘ Father Julius’ in March 2019, The House of Løstbois began as a creative exploration of gender, and became so much more; a community, a support system, a family, a source of joy reaching far beyond pride.
‘Kin’ is a series of photographs made by documentary photographer (Jersey born, Amsterdam based) Stacey Yates-aka ‘The Bill Please’ and is the beginning of a broader project giving us a personal insight into the development of this queer world. In sharing these photos Bill provides us with glimpses of intimate and personal moments with his drag siblings while simultaneously exploring his own gender identity. ‘Kin’ is used in reference to the term ‘chosen family’.
As a documentary photographer, the main goal of Stacey Yates’ photography is to create narratives that help her subjects feel seen both positively, and ‘truthfully’. This is of course always ultimately the image-makers’ truth but by informing our looking, we move closer to a deeper narrative which is central to Stacey’s process. Photographing The Løstbois as a Løstboi herself – The Bill Please – Stacey is able to deepen her approach to storytelling as the narrative is also her lived experience.
From this position, and with her formal training in (BA) Documentary Photography, she captures the young beginnings of a new drag king scene in Amsterdam, at a very pivotal time. As the validity of the gender binary falls further into question and we start to push
and challenge its limits, Stacey considers The House of Løstbois to be a new seminal example of drag king culture, globally.
The title for the project is inspired by the regular house meeting times at Club ChUrch and is also in reference to ‘chosen’ or ‘found’ family’ which is a term used within LGBTQI+ communities. Chosen families are usually made up of people who have intentionally chosen to embrace, nurture, love, and support each other regardless of blood or marriage. The Løstbois see themselves as brothers and their house mother is Taka Taka.
The long term intention for the photography project and the motivation for creating the work, is to contribute to queer history. Ultimately producing a printed book that captures this important period in time through the eyes of drag persona, The Bill Please, is a
worthy pursuit at a pivotal time. A time when trans and non-binary people, are stepping up and demanding to be seen, and heard.
Liri Dank aka ‘Rock De Bizarre’, founding member of the House of Løstbois, says: “‘What hasn’t been said about queers and family? Indeed queers choose their own. Rejection and isolation births a yearning to be seen for who you are, to be celebrated for it. To truly belong. In the Løstbois rehearsals, gender expectations melt away, allowing space for discovery, excitement and support.
“Club ChUrch is the habitat for the Løstbois providing the house with structure, resources, rehearsal space, and of course, a stage. For many, this kind of performance space enables a safe, brave and supportive environment for exploration and play. Finding one another felt like finding a spring behind the rocks; like building an oasis in the middle of the desert, here behind the heavy doors of queer cruise club – Club ChUrch.”