AI: Art For Equality
Last Sunday I went to see a reading of a play at the Old Vic Theatre called “Just Me, You and the Silence” courtesy of All Out. It’s set in Uganda in 2009 and follows a politician as he tries to put an anti-gay bill into law, examining the thought processes of the people supporting it and the effects on the LGBTQ* community. While the subject matter is grim, the play itself is witty and doesn’t feel like an “educational” production. The author, Judy Adong, hopes to stage it in all the countries around the world where being LGBTQ* is still a crime, as a way to smash misconceptions and change attitudes for the better. It’s particularly important that this sort of thing comes from people who are actually from Uganda, like Adong, because a lot of the anti-gay propaganda talks about homosexuality being “un-African” and a way to facilitate another colonisation. She recently wrote an interesting article for the Guardian about how she came to write the play.
I think that art can be a very powerful way to pass on these sorts of messages to people. It can be easier to empathise with a character than imagine the experiences of a large group of people who have been heavily demonised. It’s also a way to put across messages in new ways – no one wants to hear the exact same speech over and over again. Clearly the reading last Sunday, held in a particularly liberal part of a relatively liberal country, was preaching to the choir, but the support (financial, political and emotional) will hopefully lead to Adong’s vision being realised.
Have you ever seen a particularly convincing example of art being used for good – whether to support LGBTQ* rights or otherwise? Have you or someone else you know ever been convinced of something by a work or piece of art?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.