Queer & Present: January 2018

January 29, 2018 in inQueery

Hello and welcome to January’s Queer & Present! Here’s a roundup of LGBTQIA+ news that made headlines this month with some of my own analysis.

 

Angels in America coming to Berkeley Repertory Theater

The epic two-part play Angels in America, written by Tony Kushner, will show at Berkeley Repertory Theater from April 17 to July 22. Bob the Drag Queen, winner of season eight of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is set to play Belize and Stephen Spinella, who won two Tony awards for his portrayal of Prior Walter in Broadway’s 1993 version of the play, will return this time as Roy Cohn.

Though I think a lot of the queer reboots are iffy because they take up space that new queer stories should get instead, Angels in America is timeless and timely. The play’s themes of power and greed battling with love and acceptance are really important now. When watching or reading the play, you get the sense that everyone feels like they’re going crazy because the world is going crazy, and I think that’s really applicable to modern times. I’m also very happy to see Bob as Belize. That’s absolutely perfect casting.

 

Chelsea Manning announces senate run in Maryland

Chelsea Manning, a trans woman that spent seven years in prison after passing government documents to WikiLeaks, announced her campaign on January 13. She challenges incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin for the seat. Her three core policy areas will be criminal justice, healthcare, and immigration. She wants to close prisons, make all healthcare free, and dissolve borders. “We have domestic terrorists and they can travel wherever they want. Closing off the borders doesn’t solve the problem,” she said.

Chelsea Manning has some really new and interesting ideas, and I’m excited to see what she does during her campaign. In response to her crashing the far-right rally on January 20, I think it’s safe to assume that from her history and political stances, she doesn’t support the alt-right. However, I do agree that attending it on the same day as the women’s march was a poor choice.

 

Tunisia puts on first-ever queer film festival

The first-ever Mawjoudin queer film festival showed 12 films from January 15-18. The event was put on by LGBTQIA+ group Mawjoudin, which means “we exist” in Arabic. Because Tunisia’s government penalizes homosexuality with up to three years in prison, the location of the festival was only revealed through word of mouth. “Through this festival we would like to give a space to queer people in general in order to escape a bit from social pressure, and also to identify with something, find a means to express ourselves,” said Senda Ben Jebara, a member of Mawjoudin.

It’s really great to see events like this in places where being queer is still punishable as a crime. The people putting on the event and attending are very brave to do so under such climate. It’s also important that the event centers on film— so often as queer people acceptance of ourselves begins when we can see representations of ourselves in art. The art is beautiful and we are also beautiful.

 

 

Amelia McBain is a Staff Contributor at InQueery.