“Been there, done that” is not going to work, as evidenced in the aggressive erosive actions in policy and legislation. It’s not going to work for the many transgender and other LGBT+ individuals who have been murdered in 2017 (read more here and here, and a memorial slide show here). It’s not going to work for the youth who have had enough with their existence relegated and reduced to a problem.
The problem is that we’ve got to keep talking and listening and talking and listening. We need stockpiles of compassion.
Some people are born glowing with compassion; the rest of us have to build it. To do that we need tools. Good ones. As we head toward October 11, National Coming Out Day 2017, let’s get a move on!
Good news: compassion building tools have already been invented. We just have to find them, practice, rinse, and repeat.
The team of editors (students, social workers, interns, professors, theatre artists) that put together Out & Allied Vol 2. did great work finding tools for education and dialogue, activism and transformation. Used in concert with monologues, short plays, spoken word, and music, these tools work on so many levels to:
- make a good ally stronger
- signal to a community that there is support
- create opportunities for visibility and acknowledgment.
When matched with a considered process for the audience, performative storytelling makes a difference, transforming an abstraction and to something real, personal, and relatable.
It is through stories that we help a person in power–family member, clergy, social leader, administrator, politician–to engage their backbone. The stories from fellow worshippers about what it meant to lose a home, job, child, family member due to their identity–gender, sexuality, race, ability, age, class, ethnicity–are what tipped the US and many other countries to providing basic rights (no, not special rights, no, not extra rights, just rights) for the LGBTQ+ members of our communities. Unfortunately, those rights are being undermined or even eradicated and we now, again, more than ever, or in some cases, for the first time, need to pick up available tools and get building.
This book includes short plays, monologues, spoken word poems, and music created by and with youth from across the US. Several of the contributors are connected to the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance. They can be read silently or aloud. They can be fully staged or simply presented. They speak of strength, resilience, courage, and joy. These performance pieces are all tools for what needs to happen next: dialogue.
Not debate. Not discussion. Dialogue.
Both Vol 1 and Vol 2 are tried, true, and ready for you, youth, adults, teachers, facilitators, mediators, artists, activists, schools, congregations, or whatever community you want to strengthen. The pieces are all free of royalty charge and you are encouraged to make changes to the pieces to personalize or customize for your purposes.
Maybe they will even inspire you to write your own!