Dramatic Readings highlights voices in LGBTQ community

Chelsea Phillips

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Resource Center held its annual dramatic reading in Reeve Memorial Union Theater to put a voice to the queer community on April 30, at 7 p.m. “I was very pleased with our dramatic readings this year,” Liz Cannon, director of the LGBTQ Center, said. “It’s a program we do with a different theme every year to highlight voices in the queer community.” Some of the authors chosen were Dominique Christian, Denice Frohman, J Mase III, Javon Johnson, Esther Saxey and Simone de Boudoir. Not all of the works chosen were read by the readers. Some were videos of the actual authors. One video shown was by YouTube star Hart Beat, who dances around in a watermelon bathing suit and her mom walks in on her. Matt Sutor, student, said he felt this video said a lot about acceptance. “Even though the video was comical, it stood out to me,” Sutor said. “I feel that her mom walking in on her dancing in a watermelon suit, and her mom not judging her means that her mom accepts her for who she is. If she wants to dance around in a watermelon suit then her mom won’t judge her. I just wish that society could be as accepting as Hart Beats’ mom.” The authors chosen were picked because they spoke their minds about being different and they represented the reality of the queer community. Cannon said she enjoys bringing written work to life, and she feels she needs to be brave enough to read these works out loud just like the people she asks to read. “So much of written texts is meant to be heard, or to be read aloud, and as someone whose first field of study was English literature, I enjoy being part of the process of making the written word come alive,” Cannon said. “The other part is that if I am asking students to be brave enough to participate, I should be so as well. Cannon said she feels that it is important to share these voices with larger audiences. “I also am personally dedicated to bringing these specific voices, the voices of the queer community, to a wider audience,” Cannon said. “Some of them speak of my experiences, some of them speak of the experiences of others in my community, and I must hear them all and share them all.” This was LGBTQ Resource Center intern Myoshia Jackson’s first time putting on a reading. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how to say it,” Jackson said. “So those were some of the authors that I listened to transitioning from high school to college and they represented how I felt.” Jackson gave pieces of works to all of the activist readers, but Devin Matznick and Aaron Jackson wrote their own because they connected better with their own work. “The two pieces that were written by the two speakers, they connected with them more than something I would have picked,” Jackson said. “Devin’s poem just represented zir so well. And there is nothing out there that could represent zir like zie can.” Matznick’s piece talked about zir struggle with fitting in and not having a place to go because zie doesn’t identify as a male or female. “When Devin read zir poem, it brought me chills,” Sutor said. “Zie really represented the struggle within the queer community of wanting to be accepted but still being considered an outcast.” The works that were read were chosen to represent the truth about the queer community and give it a voice. “Being on campus, I never knew about the LGBTQ Center, but it always seemed so happy-go-lucky,” Jackson said. “I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to show love like the other readings. I just wanted the truth, and I felt like queerness has a lot of truth that people can’t handle.” Attendees were surprised by what was read and how well it represented the queer community so well. “This was my first time going to something like this,” Sutor said. “I didn’t know what to expect going in, but it was definitely something that opened my eyes. Seeing the struggle that the queer community goes through to be accepted is unbelievable.”