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Devoted & Disgruntled 12: What Shall We Do About Theatre and the Performing Arts Now?

#MyQueerCity - the Inclusive City from an LGBTQ+ perspective

Mariangela Veronesi - 14 January 2017

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We brainstormed ideas around what an ideal city would correspond to from an LGBTQ+ perspective, and how this contrasted with how cities are today….

This led to a series of conversations around safe spaces, and whether existing LGBTQ+ places are safe and inclusive or not, and it seemed like overall they were still not adequate in many places. Some had too significant entry barriers for certain groups, some where too based around a drinking culture, some didn't include non-binary people well enough, etc

We also talked about the need of feeling safe in the street and in public places, and how nowadays people think acceptance has been achieved and therefore there is limited need for ‘protection’ and declared gay friendly environments - whereas people still feel unprotected, or feel that they are attracting too much attention with is quite awkward, and just generally doesn't make you feel the same as everybody.

Nonetheless, people gravitate towards safe spaces not just because they are seeking refuge, but also because they want to feel fulfilled, not have to justify themselves, etc

We've talked a lot about inclusion, queerness and representation in the theatre sector - whether there is enough space for LGBTQ+ people, and whether there is enough funding and support of queer culture in performing arts. We also discussed whether the arts and theatre can have an impact on the urban environment, and can be a more interesting and engaging angle than thinking about policy and design

We also talked about the role of education, and the need of creating dialogue around LGBTQ issues since an early age. We mentioned class and whether social acceptance of queerness is class based, and a few examples made us think that it is less the case nowadays than in the past (generally speaking). Nonetheless, it still seemed to be recognised that cities where still more of a safe haven and a place of diversity and LGBTQ community rather than smaller or more rural places, and this had an impact on the space and support given to queerness in performing arts too.

We started talking about Pride and it's significance as a day where there is an urban takeover by LGBTQ+ people… but also it's ephemeral nature, despite also having an important cultural impact. We talked about what is the role of pride - did we fight for being able to sing and dance around, or is this about deeper issues? we kind of agreed that, despite the need to still recognise deeper issues, actually we did also fight for the freedom of being able to be whoever we want to be publicly, including when joining into the shared experience of signing songs all together!

There will be more work on this project, please follow #MyQueerCity to see how it progresses, and share your ideas abotu what you'd want your queer city to look like :-)

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