almost on a whim–sparked by an urgent text message earlier in the day–some friends and i ventured out to a nearby college campus at 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday night. the word was that a group of gay students at Southern Methodist University had put together a series of monologues and an ensemble–titled WildeIntentions–being performed in response to the refusal of the SMU student body to grant a LGBT-designated seat on the student senate. as if that weren’t enough, a group of ignorant students had stirred up the time-honored tradition of homophobia which is so en vogue in parts of our state, in large part prompting this production. (reported here in the current issue of the Dallas Voice.)
the second of two presentations–at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday night (did i mention that?)–drew a fairly large crowd of mostly college students and a few old-heads who rushed in to find seats as soon as the doors were opened. (they scrambled to find more chairs to accommodate all the extra people.)
and there, in this dank basement theater (the Kathy Bates theater, I believe), we witnessed together the commonality of all oppressed peoples’ struggles from this generation’s gay male perspective.
it was college theater and mostly all that implies. and it was lovely.
in a workshop-type endeavor, these young men had written of their own experiences and in 90 minutes of raw vulnerability shared them with an audience that seemed to hang on every syllable. there were moments of soaring poetry and crescendos of vividly expressed pain and also hope. i wish that i had been able to make some notes on my phone and report back some of the sumptuous lines we heard.
they talked of their anger.
of how they hurt.
of a lack of understanding.
of presenting their lives in “nice little boxes” and what that had cost them.
and as i watched, i realized that while the movement for equity of homosexuals within our society has advanced significantly since the modern movement began, these men are still fighting the same fights, still realizing the same pain, still waging war against oppression and marginalization and assimilation.
and as they bared their souls, i found great hope. hope in their passion. hope in their willingness to not go quietly when they are told in various forms–no, they can’t be on the senate; no, they can’t marry the person they love; no, they can’t be whole. hope that when people hear these words, they will at least stop fighting against us–if not start fighting alongside us.
there was some talent in that room, to be sure–particularly in form of prose and poetry. and there was also heart in that theater–authentic, passionate, raw heart. and as a result, hearts will be changed.
the future of our movement was visible tonight; these young patriots are engaging the struggle proudly. we have great reason to hope.
As a vintage female straight thespian, I speak from the sidelines… but, my heart still aches when I read about the pain of LGBT community. I had a front row seat to the seventies and early eighties as my gay actor friends lived in a secret society and an invitation was needed for entry. The reason was clear… it was life or death… ridicule, lack of understanding, bible thumping, and hatred were an ever constant presence and frankly, some did not make it and I miss them. It was paralyzing fear…. for all of us… for them… for those of us in their support circle… Reading this piece only makes it all surface as I still grieve for those who were lost in the murky world of rejection and self-loathing.
My mother spent her young adulthood in Greenwich Village where a fabulous gay neighbor taught her how to make spaghetti and shop at the second hand shops. He was her only friend as she tried to figure out life on her own… He was a support system for a young girl who had been rejected by her Catholic faith. She spoke of him so fondly in my early years… They were friends in the fifties… she was enlightened to the reality of humanity and it’s depths. I can thank her for my perspective…
Now, when I see my sons in their twenties with their gay and straight friends, black, Indian, Asian, hispanic and interracial couples, I have to work to remain calm… as if it were the most normal thing in the world…to them… because it is… my joy is overwhelming… their world is as it should be. They are a vocal and demanding generation… just as we had hoped…
I am now on the front seat row of the future… but my age is my imprint of the past… my liberal views quietly used in the voting booth and at home in this great state of Texas… I am that suburban invisible mom in her fifties at Costco…
that is fine by me… I am content here.
But, you are not… I see you all and I applaud you. You are amazing.
You are transformative.