GLBT Member Needs
Discussed at Session
This year, at the 2007 Conference & Stage Expo in Phoenix, Andi Lyons and her co-chairs facilitated an exciting and much needed forum for the gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/transgender population and their friends. The room quickly filled to capacity with old friends and new faces. As each person introduced themselves and pride badges were passed around to place on Conference name placards, a sense of safety and trust ensued and the conversation began. It was clear that the GLBT USITT community had something to say.
A version of this session, Queer Nation: a roundtable for everyone, has been held as part of the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo for the past several years. It is co-sponsored by the Engineering Commission and the Caucus on Human Issues.
Several issues were discussed ranging from queer theatre to transgender equality. Some highlights were issues of living as a student or faculty member in a conservative environment or academic institution, how to market a queer show and to what audience, what is safe space and how to get it on your campus, how to mentor GLBT theatre students even if you are a straight person, and what are the new queer plays and how to find them. One of the most poignant questions in the forum came from a young woman dealing with the issue of gender reassignment. Her legitimate concern was about the status of her work history, reference list, and resume after her reassignment. This put a much needed spotlight on a topic is rarely, if ever, addressed.
Throughout the discussion, many people offered advice, positive thoughts, and encouragement. Overall the message was sent: "We are here, we care, and we are listening." Many new contacts were made and a list serve to better facilitate the needs of the GLBT theatre community in USITT was discussed. Kudos to Ms. Lyons and her co-chairs for creating a much needed outlet.
Rainbow ribbons were distributed as part of the Queer Nation: a roundtable for everyone session in Phoenix, Arizona.