photographing berlin's beautiful queer youth

Matt Lambert shoots the kids who don’t want to play the gender game.

by i-D Staff
18 November 2015, 8:55pm

Matt Lambert is a Berlin based photographer and filmmaker who is known for his endless search for youth and sexuality. We asked him to shot Berlin's young generation of kids who do not identify as straight, gay, bi or trans. They don't want to be put into any category and don't want to play the gender game. In Berlin they are free to be who they want to be. 

"A few weeks ago I sat down with a handful of teenagers in Berlin who don't define themselves as 'straight' to talk about the city and how it influences the way they define who they are and who they love. Not surprisingly, they all gave it much less thought than those even just a few years older. I moved here five years ago -- much of my work is fixated on the youth, intimacy, love and sex of this city that's given me my voice and vision. I love, and at times envy, the fluidity and confidence you feel at that age. Whilst it's the fringe of the city that pushes it forward, it's even more fascinating for me to see how that energy and forward-thinking spirit trickles down to the hearts of the next generation." Matt Lambert  

"The people I see everyday on the streets of Berlin who live their sexuality freely makes me feel comfortable letting out my 'real self.' I think it's even often an advantage to be gay in Berlin. Gay in Berlin becomes the norm and [queer people] are therefore treated normally — the way it should be!" Bennett, 18 

"It's important to be accepted the way you are but also to be able to find like minded people. Berlin offers both." Zoe, 19 

"Even if life here in Berlin is not always easy, it's never because I'm gay. In Berlin I decide who I want to be, what I want to do and who I hang out with." Lukas, 17

"I can't think of any situation in Berlin where I've felt really insecure because of my identity. Of course some people talk shit, but they are rarely motivated to do anything more. And the people who mouth off are always in the minority; there's always support from others, and that's why it's worth it to express yourself the way you want. I think someone who isn't cool with diversity won't be cool in Berlin for long." Fion, 17 

"Berlin is unlike any other place on earth. In this city I feel you are able to be whoever you want to be and do whatever you feel like doing. Berlin offers so much freedom — it's incredible! I feel so comfortable expressing myself in Berlin and sometimes I ask myself if Berlin has changed me or just brought out who I already was. I've lived in a few different cities before, but really, there's no place like this crazy city. Berlin is the perfect place to come out. It has a huge LGBT community and a really vibrant young, queer culture." Sadly, 18  

"Berlin has allowed me to be unrestrained. It's never been a hindrance to express what I naturally would. Berlin is very fast-paced socially, and people don't over evaluate your sexuality, which really cultivates a good environment for gay people. Berlin is generally quite open but I feel like the fact that people are so unprejudiced is unique. To be gay or bi here is hardly worth noting or discussing — people value diversity rather than strict definitions." Henry, 18 

"Berlin is a city were everyone has their own personal space. It allows you to live your darkest feelings and wishes. Abnormality became normal, this gives me the freedom to do what I want. Berlin doesn't blame you for being gay, straight, bi, transsexual or all the other shades sexuality has." Hans, 18 

"Sometimes when I walk through Berlin's streets, I get a feeling that everybody is special and has the right to live the way they want in order to be happy and so can I. Berlin has encouraged me to accept a lot about myself and I really love Berlin with its pulse, life and diversity." Karla, 18 

"In Berlin, people don't define each other by their sexualities, but more by each others' personalities. There's a lot of tolerance here and people don't need to 'label' you right away. I try not to define my sexuality because I love a person's character and their gender is really secondary for me. My parents love me the way I am and just like me, sexuality doesn't define a person for them." Maeva, 18 

"Berlin is a great place to be the way I really am without caring about others opinions or feeling the need to disguise myself. Since I moved here I feel my sexuality is no longer an issue." Nico, 18 


Photography Matt Lambert 
Photography assistance Luca Fuchs
Hair and make-up Tan Vuong

Matt Lambert
youth lens