Harry Rose

Velvet Youth draws from my own personal archive as well as queer identity politics to convey what it felt like to grow up gay in a straight world.

In 2004, I was put in hospital after coming out to a close friend, which soon became high school gossip and resulted in 50 school boys beating until I was unconscious. Velvet Youth explores the isolation and confusion as well as persecution which led up to that event. The use of archival school photographs as well as school reports give an insight into circumstances through teachers and onlookers who had no clear understanding of what was occurring. 

The Pink Triangle

The use of a Pink Triangle in relations to queerness was used by the Nazi's in the 1940s to label LGBT men and women from straight people within the ghettos and later on in concentration camps. If you were seen having a pink triangle on your striped uniform it almost always called for an immediate beating from the guards. Through the 60's and 70's, the gay community adopted the pink triangle as a symbol of empowerment and recognition of the LGBT victims of the holocaust. Companies adopted the pink triangle to symbolise unity. During the 80s and the aids crisis in America and London, the triangle was introverted back to being an upward pointing triangle as an act of defiance. Militant protest groups and collectives such as the Pink Panthers used the symbol as a way of public identifying who they are and to deconstruct heterosexual narratives. 

Within the context of this project, the pink triangle is used to show how sexuality for youth in the 90s and early 00's wasn't something that was celebrated or discussed. With Section 28 still law during my time as a child entering education, my confusion and misplaced identity was only enforced by government law. The use of the colour pink and the triangle is an act of defiance but also persecution and confusion - all of which I experienced growing up gay whilst in education. 

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