Malta
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Watch: A colourful celebration of diversity and empowerment

From colourful fabrics to more muted textiles, hundreds of members of the LGBTIQ+ community will be able to express themselves openly and publicly through the outfits they wear during the 10 days of EuroPride that kicked off on Thursday.

“We don’t really have many other opportunities to do so, especially in open spaces and with this amount of people,” said drag artist Nick Ebejer, who goes with the name Tkaxkira! (drag) when in drag.

“The feeling is like no other feeling in the world. Even though we have specific events, we have to be careful. We cannot have an event in Paceville, for example, as we would not be safe. I can’t take the bus in drag as it will not necessarily be safe. I have to get a cab and hide. But, during Pride, you don’t have to do that and it’s great,” says Nick who is picking a sailor-inspired outfit that merges aspects of femininity, masculinity and the queer community.

Gabriel Chetcuti, or KLONN when in drag, nods and adds: “There is safety in numbers.”

Both will be loaning costumes from Teatru Malta to wear during EuroPride – 10 days dedicated to celebrate LGBTIQ+ rights across Europe.

'Pride is allowing us to decide which aspects of ourselves to show.' Video: Jonathan Borg

Teatru Malta has made hundreds of costumes, which have been worn during productions at the Manoel Theatre over the years, available to a limited amount of people during EuroPride.

“The history of theatre costume, sexuality and gender have long been intertwined. This is our small part to a European celebration of diversity and empowerment,” said Teatru Malta’s artistic director Sean Buhagiar.

Teatru Malta wardrobe supervisor Luke Dimech, with the assistance of Gabriel, is helping with the styling and fitting.

Event combines worlds together

Pride is allowing us to decide which aspects of ourselves to show. These are costumes, it’s true, but people are coming here for outfits that allow them to enhance and express aspects of themselves. They provide an expressive way to be more authentic with clothing, to bring home what Pride means to them,” says Luke.

Some of the outfits that will be worn during EuroPride.Some of the outfits that will be worn during EuroPride.

Many others will also be making their outfits. A salesperson at JB Stores confirmed that there were lots of requests for fabrics to make EuroPride outfits.

Asked about this, Charles van Maarschalkerweerd Borg, of designer due Charles & Ron, says: “This is a celebration so it will be a great way to see people enjoying themselves and expressing themselves through their outfits.”

Gabriel already picked an outfit, from Teatru Malta, which reflects “controlled chaos” expressed in the form of clashing prints that reflect an “incredibly selective yet incredibly indecisive” personality.

The history of theatre costume, sexuality and gender have long been intertwined.The history of theatre costume, sexuality and gender have long been intertwined.

Gabriel explains that drag is a form of art that, like all art, allows for self-expression – in this case, through clothes and make-up.

But, in today’s world, are such events needed? Is fear and judgement still real?

“I think so without a shadow of doubt. There is still a lot of work to do in our culture and this is a worldwide issue. We need to allow all expressions to really shine through and be respectful of that.”