“Within the typical secondary school curriculum, homosexuals do not exist. They are ‘nonpersons’ in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations. The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning.”
-Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5. From Famous Gay People.
LGBT + folks, or the queer community, weren’t always considered the edge of society, or nonpersons of history. At many points in history, being gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, queer, was celebrated, and queer people had positions of power and importance in communities, given that they lived somewhere in the middle of genders, sometimes believed to be encompassing both genders, or being “two-spirited”. They were spiritual leaders, political leaders, warriors, advisors, prominent in their communities--- whether that was early Celtic or First Nations people, or early Europeans—they were there—leading, helping, guiding. And then something changed and queer folks hid their identities, their stories, to survive.
But you might have heard of some of them: Alexander the Great, Emperor Hadrian, Sappho, King Richard the Lionhearted, Julius and Augustus Caesar, Aristotle, Socrates, Erasmus, King James of the King James Bible, Christina of Sweden, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Anne, Marie Antoinette, Margaret Fuller, and more modern names like Dag Hammerskjold (UN Secretary), Josephine Baker, Isadora Duncan, Frida Cahlo, Ellen Degeneres, Sir Ian McKellan, Gene Robinson, Mary Glasspool, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Raymond Burr, Rudolf Valentino, Montgomery Clift, Tab Hunter or George Takei. And don’t get me started in literature—I could design an entire semester's syllabus for an American Literature class that would include many of the (American) greats and nobody would question that I covered the important authors.
These are the recorded names, but many more from the LGBT community have contributed to history who weren’t recorded, but who were an integral part of their society. How important are these stories—these people—to our society? Are they a part of EVERY person’s story in some way? How can we encourage our LGBT youth to take leadership roles in today’s society—and how can we help society encourage LGBT youth to see themselves with just as much potential for leadership as any person?
In conjunction with AGOKWE, the Dora Award winning play from Waawaate Fobister (details below), please join us for a panel discussion on Queer Creative Leadership in the Arts discussing the history of LGBT people in leadership, First Nation leadership as well as general leadership, in society, but especially in the Arts---at the OLD FIRE HALL, SATURDAY, JAN 26, 3pm. This talk features:
Often focusing on gender roles and sexuality, Corbett uses video and visual arts to explore the whimsy of queer theory. Her works have been shown in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Montreal and China.
An award-winning actor and playwright. In 2009, his production of Agokwe — a one-man play which he wrote and starred in — won six Dora Awards. He is also a choreographer, dancer and producer. A proud Anishnaabe from Grassy Narrows First Nation, he is a graduate and winner of the Distinguished Performance — Male award from Humber College’s Theatre Performance Program. Agokwe is presented by Naki Pivot Festival and the Yukon Arts Centre on January 25.
Duane Gastant' Aucoin
An award winning 2-Spirited Tlingit/Acadian Performing Artist from Teslin, Yukon. One of the early pioneers of the 2-Spirited Arts Movement he celebrates this year the 10th anniversary of "Children of the Rainbow" which won the Audience Favourite Award at the 2003 Vancouver Queer Film Festival. He is currently his Yanyeidi Clans representative on the Teslin Tlingit Executive Council and a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer. His work has been heard on CBC and published in Geist, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, and various anthologies and magazines. He earned his PhD at Texas Tech University in English and teaches a Writing Faith Workshop at the Whitehorse United Church. His gay Christian resource page, Talking Dog, gives churches and individuals ways to work through the coming out process. He is working on his first novel.
For more information, contact Jessica 393 7109 or gallery (at) yac (dot) ca
This ArtTalk is being offered in conjunction with AGOKWE, Waawaate Fobister’s play about “gay love on the rez”—that earned him 6 coveted DORA Awards! Come see Agokwe either Friday, JAN 25 or Sat JAN 26 at 8pm.
Agokwe—meaning “two- spirited”—is Waawaate Fobister’s tale of social isolation, lost traditions, and a community struggling to redefine itself wrapped in a queer love story about two teenage boys from neighbouring reserves, an all nation hockey tournament, and Nanabush, the trickster.
Please note: some mature content
Agokwe is part of Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival happening this week.
Tickets are still available to see AGOKWE while it’s here—only two nights. Call 667-8574, our box office, or go by Arts Underground, or online at http://www.yukonartscentre.com to get tickets.
Agokwe is sponsored in part by BURNT TOAST CAFÉ and EDGWATER HOTEL. And is a Northwestel Art Lovers Series event!
Thank you to all our sponsors!