‘Queer Monologues’ presents stories of love, coming out, bullying and more

Tara
Tara Bradbury
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Goes tonight at the LSPU Hall

Following a sold out show and a standing ovation last year, local LGBT youth will take to the stage again tonight to share their concerns, hopes and personal experiences.

Katy Warren performs “Jackpot,” by Nathan Downey. — Submitted photo by Greg Knott

From funny anecdotes to tales of lost love and bullying, the youth will participate in the “Queer Monologues: Stories of LGBT Youth,” produced by For the Love of Learning, at the LSPU Hall, with special guests Greg Malone, Agnes Walsh and Robert Chafe.

Based on the success of Eve Ensler’s episodic play, “The Vagina Monologues,” “Queer Monologues” was the vision of Gemma Hickey, For the Love of Learning’s executive director, and she wanted it to be focused on the bullying that LGBT youth often face.

Participants — who range in age from 15 to 30 — will read monologues written from male and female, including transgender, points of view, dealing with issues like coming out, falling in love with a friend, body image, and the response of others to their sexuality.

“One young man wrote a monologue based on his experience in the Philippines, and how he came here and enjoys the rights he has in this province, but feels bad that his friends back in the Philippines don’t have the same rights,” Hickey said.

“The arts are a wonderful way to educate — these youth have a safe environment to tell their story and be heard, and people walk away moved, and they talk about it. It’s a good way to continue a dialogue.”

Tonight’s performance will also serve as the launch of “Queer Monologues: Stories of LGBT Youth,” a book of last year’s monologues, published by Breakwater Books. It’s the second of two LGBT books published by Breakwater in the past couple months: the other, “Out Proud,” is a collection of about 50 essays submitted from across the country. Both books will be available at the show.

“The publishing industry, despite the doom and gloom that often seems to surround it, with the advent of e-books and these kinds of things, still maintains some power: the ability to take things and put them into print and make it easily accessible to a wide range of people,” explained James Langer, Breakwater editor.

“I think it’s important to continue to do things like this. For me, this is about giving people a voice and about making these experiences normal. Not the negative experiences, but letting people talk about their sexual orientation so that the rest of society, the heterosexual community, can start to accept it more.”

What both books do, Langer said, is remind the public that although great strides have been made in terms of LGBT rights, there is still a way to go. Some of the monologues and essays point out the difficulties and prejudice still experienced by members of the community.

“It’s important not to just pat ourselves on the back for what’s been accomplished, but to remember that this is still a difficult process, especially for youth.”

Hickey called the book “a positive project that keeps on giving,” and said the goal is for schools and community organizations to use it as a teaching tool.

Tickets for “The Queer Monologues” are $22, and are available at the LSPU Hall box office, online at www.rca.nf.ca, and by calling at

753-4531.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Geographic location: Philippines

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