How has lockdown been for you?
Like everyone else, the early days and weeks of lockdown were shocking and frightening.
Waking up to a daily death toll was surreal. As a family we stopped watching every news bulletin and the daily briefings quite early on, as it was distressing, and depressing.
We don't have the TV on during the day. The radio goes on in the morning and stay on till around 4pm. We have been watching “GLEE” from the beginning. Obviously that is now even more poignant with the tragic loss of Naya Rivera.
2020 really is a destructive bitch of a year.
We have been watching “RuPauls All Stars” and “Canada’s Drag Race” and our guilty pleasure is “The Gilmore Girls”
We have also started watching the Marvel movies from the beginning, in order, and I have to say I am really enjoying the escapism of them. My daughter Stevie is in love with Thor and Starlord.
We have stayed very quietly at home since day one, and haven't really relaxed our social distancing and have always worn face masks.
Stevie has been working really hard on her school work. She is in year 10, so an important year for her. I am very proud of how she has knocked down and been so self motivated with her work.
She has taken over my desk, and its a standing joke that the sum of my “office space” is now a letter rack.
We are lucky to have a garden, so that has been a saving grace for us, as we can spend time outdoors. My garden in immaculate I have painted fences, railing, walls, ceiling - You name it , I've painted it. We have been keeping ourselves very busy doing stuff around the house.
Our dog, Buddy The Superdog, is loving having everyone at home.
I have no shows scheduled in for the rest this year, so am just sitting it out and staying in our own little lockdown, waiting to see how this pans out. I honestly cant see me getting back on a stage in 2020.
I have been doing masses of interviews during this period. Zoom, Skype, radio and via email. It has been really busy. We are now the proud owners of a green screen! Dull it isn't.
How do you feel about the current discussions on Transgender people?
I’m not an activist. I’m not a political person, but I believe that everyone is equal and should be treated with respect and empathy regardless of their colour, gender, sexuality. Human rights for all humans. There is no caveat.
The trans community have been taking a particularly brutal bashing during this lockdown period. JK Rowling’s obsessive Tweeting is not helping.
I am proud to be a trans ally, and friend/supporter of Trans Radio UK, so use my platform to show my support. I believe that everyone has the right to be who they really are, and nobody has the right to judge or criticise them.
I am trying to educate myself on the issues that confront trans people on a daily basis, and will continue to give my support and use my voice and my platform in a positive way.
Trans women are women. Trans men are trans men - Its as simple as that.
I have an HD2020 T-shirt in my online store, for which a £5.00 donation to Mermaids is made for every T-shirt sold. I make zero profit. Trans kids and their parents need to know that there are allies who will support them.
Do you feel that the use of the rainbow flag during the coronavirus virus in support of the NHS as confused the message on the rainbow flag being a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community
Rainbows are such a poignant symbol of hope, of sunshine after a storm, and that is why they have become so important during these dark days.
In the very early days of lockdown, when we were only allowed one walk a day, my family and I really enjoyed spotting rainbows in people windows. It made us feel connected to our local community.
My daughter and my co-pilot (partner) have made some fantastic rainbows during lockdown and we still have one in the window. Its a sparkly whopper of colour.
It makes me happy to see kids pointing at it and smiling.
Rainbows have been around since the beginning of time, so I have no issue with the rainbow being appropriated by everyone as a symbol of hope or the NHS in these dark and difficult days.
Rainbows belong to everyone.
I have just bought a progressive rainbow flag, as it is inclusive, and more easily recognisable and very specific in representing the LGBTQ community.
You are a patron of Pride in Surrey how did that come about?
They asked, its as simple as that.
I didn't really understand the role of a patron, but I have to say I am really enjoying the interaction with the team, who are inspirational in their passion and dedication
I was quite nervous when the announcement was made, as I gave a speech - totally out of my comfort zone! Being dyslexic makes it very difficult for me in that type of situation. I’m much happier singing.
I am very proud to be the patron of the pride in the county I have lived in since 1985.
I was born in Essex, but I have never, ever been asked to perform at a pride event in my home county of Essex. Go figure!
Pride in Surrey was due to take place on 8th August, and I was planning to take part in the parade/march with my family, and they perform in the evening. Obviously that has now been cancelled, so I try to do what I can via my social media platforms.
They have a great range of Pride mercy on tire website, plus a HAZELL DEAN - TURN IT INTO LOVE merchandise collaboration with myself and RETRO POP Magazine is donating 50% of profits to Pride in Surrey. Once again I am receiving no profit or payment.
You perform at many Pride events. Why is Pride still so important?
I have performed at pride events around the world since 1984. Thats 36 years.
I have been a professional singer since the early 1970’s, but my first commercial success was within the gay community, so it was a natural progression. The LGBTQ+ community have stuck by me over the years, and I have remained loyal in return.
I have been consistent in my support. It is great that there are so many events across the UK, not just in the big cities.
There is a danger of some of the prides turning into festivals, and losing the original purpose of pride, and I get a lot of feedback from people who feel very strongly about that.
Scotland is to become the first country in the world to add LGBTQ+ history to the school curriculum. How important is it to be taught that in school?
All schools should be including LGBTQ+ content in the curriculum. Children are a blank page, they respond to what is presented to them. Education is 100% critical.
Ignorance creates prejudice. My daughter has been brought up knowing she can ask anything. She is brought up to have no prejudice. She often teaches me stuff. For example she is currently working on a presentation to be given in school highlighting issues affecting the trans community. She spoke to one of the Pride in Surrey team, and asked some really pertinent questions. It wouldn't even occur to her that LGBTQ+ topics would be considered offensive to some individuals.
She has been brought up to respect others, and that prejudice is not acceptable.
Congratulations on entering the pride power list recently, you must be very proud?
It was quite a surprise when I received a message from Linda Riley (DIVA Magazine) I was sitting in my car in a Tesco car park at the time.
I particularly enjoyed being a “Newcomer” - That's quite an achievement after 36 years! There are so many incredible people on the list, so I am very proud to be the newcomer at number 100.
I have also been nominated in 2 categories of the ITV NEWS National Diversity Awards. The shortlist is announced on 22nd July, but to be honest, I am just stunned to have received the hundreds of nominations for Lifetime Achiever and Positive Role Model. It is very humbling.
When you are not performing how do you like to spend your days?
I love being at home with my family. I potter around my garden. Do stuff around the house. I read. I walk the dog. I am a mum, so I do mum stuff.
Being in lockdown has meant that my usual routine has changed, as my co-pilot is home on furlough, and our daughter is home schooling. Thankfully we are a tight family unit, and enjoy each others company. We have had quite a few BBQ’s!
No Summer holiday for us this year, we are playing it safe and staying close to home, but will be having days out an picnics to keep us entertained.
Simple pleasures in these crazy times.
What goals do you still want to achieve?
I have always been a song writer, so it would be amazing to have an artist cover one of my songs, and have a massive hit. That would be the cherry on top of the cake.
Apart from that, i’m very happy just bobbing along in my own happy Hazell Dean world. Lets hope 2021 will be a good one, as I have prides and festivals already scheduled in my diary.
Oh, if Neil & Chris of Pet Shop Boys want to give me a call to record something with them, that would be pretty special too.